The PH's Only Winter Olympian Set Up a GoFundMe to Help Pay for Training

Michael Martinez is the first Southeast Asian Olympic figure skater.
by Mario Alvaro Limos for Esquire PH   |  Jul 11, 2021
Image: Instagram/mz_viral
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Filipino figure skater Michael Martinez, who put the Philippines on the map in the figure skating world, is no longer the tall and slim kid we witnessed in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Martinez is the 2015 Asian Figure Skating Trophy champion, a two-time Triglav Trophy champion, and has won an ISU Challenger Series medal—a silver at the 2014 Warsaw Cup.

He is the only athlete from the Philippines who qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the first Southeast Asian Olympic figure skater.

Martinez was 16 when he competed in Sochi. A lot has changed since then. Now, the 24-year-old has become more confident.

But where has he been all this time since he competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics?

Turns out, Martinez has been training a lot in the U.S., where his coaches are based. There are also more skating rinks there, so Martinez can train in a relatively more private setting than the skating rinks of SM, where he initially trained as a teenager.

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A post shared by Michael Martinez | Athlete (@mz_viral)

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In April 2021, Martinez asked the public for financial support for his 2022 Winter Olympics bid.

“I am humbly reaching out to you to join me on my journey towards the 2022 Winter Olympics and bring recognition once again to the Philippines,” wrote Martinez on Facebook.

“My team and I have organised a fundraising campaign called ‘MICHAEL MARTINEZ - Road to 2022 Winter Olympics’ to help out with the training expenses for the reason that I currently don't have sponsors yet.”

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His GoFundMe page has a target of $50,000, but three months into its launch, he has raised only $10,000.

“Michael is already taking crucial steps to gain the best chances of becoming one of the contenders at the Winter Olympics. He is currently going through intensive training in the USA under Nikolai Morozov, a renowned top international coach in figure skating,” a description in the page reads.

“No tropical nation has ever won a Winter Olympic medal, and for all intents and purposes, Michael is vying to be the first.”

With no sufficient funding from the Philippine government, Michael has to resort to crowdsourcing to bring glory not only to the Philippines, but to all of Southeast Asia. Notably, when he competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics, the whole region cheered for him.

Martinez regularly updates his Instagram account, where he posts videos of his training on the ice.

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This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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