Michael Christian Martinez, the only Filipino athlete at the 2014 Olympics, received a hero’s welcome in Manila on Sunday.
The 17-year-old athlete arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport around 5 p.m. and was taken to the SM Mall of Asia via motorcade for a program in his honor.
At the ceremony, which was beside the mall’s skating rink, Martinez thanked his supporters, including his family and mentors.
He also told other Filipino athletes that he appreciated them saying, “I am extremely happy with this hero’s welcome but let us not forget our other athlete heroes,” reported Yahoo.
“I share this honor with all Filipino athletes,” he said.
Martinez gained widespread fame for his appearance at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. He made it to the final medal round for men’s figure skating and ultimately finished 17th, with an eye toward the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.
SM Malls awarded Martinez a lifetime skating privilege for its rinks, which includes SM MOA, the rink where he first learned the sport and often trains.
The SM Foundation also gave the star $10,000 in funding, which was matched by sports patron and businessman Manny Pangilinan.
Martinez was also named an honorary citizen of Pasay City, and will meet with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at an unspecified date in the future.