PHILIPPINES – Yet another Filipino athlete made Filipinos proud all over the world at the Olympics. Figure skater Michael Christian Martinez displayed great determination and showed no fear at the 2014 winter Olympics. As a Filipino myself, I know it is extremely hard to be in this sport. Philippines does not get any snow and Martinez has to go to malls with skating rinks to practice. At a very young age, Martinez became the first figure skater from Southeast Asia and the only athlete to represent the Philippines at Sochi Olympics. Martinez is currently ranked no. 30 and I’m pretty sure that this puts him in a very nerve-racking position. Martinez mentioned at NBC “There is a lot of pressure on me because not only am I skating for my country but for all the hard work I have put in the past four years”.
Martinez’s training was no joke. Let’s face it, most Filipinos are not born with a golden spoon, and spending money on expensive trainings will wipe your family’s savings out. I really respect all the efforts that Martinez’s family had put in, to make his dreams (and ultimately, the Filipinos’ dream) come true. The Philippines Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission and SM helped in funding Martinez’s training, but, due to the known fact that trainings could be expensive, funds were used up pretty quickly. Funding constraint will definitely play a major role in Martinez’s performance at the Olympics as he only started training in December of 2013 (I’m sure athletes from other countries practiced way ahead of time to prepare for this event). But, whatever the result is, I’m proud of Martinez’s accomplishments.
Competing in the Olympics is every athlete’s dreams. Martinez dreamt — didn’t give up despite the difficulties — and made it happen. It’s just disappointing that Martinez didn’t get optimal support from the Philippine government. I understand that there are more important problems in the Philippines that need to be taken cared of (like graft and corruption), but, I just wish that they put more funds on improving training facilities for athletes and develop a better sports program instead of funding pork barrel.