Filipino fans of Olympian Figure Skater Michael Martinez could not hold back their screams as they got a glimpse of the first Filipino Figure Skating Olympian upon alighting on the stage last February 23. The hour-long wait did not dissipate the crowd eager to welcome their new hero as he arrived at SM Mall of Asia straight from the ariport. The motorcade courtesy of proud sponsor, SM Prime Holdings, was an honor deserving of a young, hard-working, seventeen year old who made history and made his country proud. The sole Philippine flag bearer at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olmpics held his head up as he waved his country’s flag and this pride was mirrored to him by this adoring Filipino fans, which includes young skaters whom he has trained with years earllier.
The greater Filipino public has not heard of him until he was already competing at the Olympics. Sad to say, sports is not a priority for the government so he had to ask support from private companies to even have a chance to compete. Most don’t have an idea on the monetary amount to be invested just to train a child in the country alone, which includes lessons, rentals, entrance fees, among others. Then add the training abroad with former Olympians, lodging, education, the output seems endless. Mothers would think twice before encouraging their child to take up the sport.
Now with Michael’s achievement in the Olympics, he opened doors for young Filipinos and for the world to recognize our country as a world-contender in the figure skating arena.
Michael Martinez first started ice skating at the tender age of 8 in SM Southmall Skating Rink enrolling in formal acting lessons towards fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional figure skater. Eventually, he transferred to SM Mall of Asia Skating Rink, which had a bigger rink, to continue his trainings and participate in many local skating competitions. To date, Martinez has garnered 194 medals and trophies from various international and local competitions. Martinez clinched 7th place at the 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany that qualified him for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
SM Ice Skating Rinks
Through the years, SM and the Philippine Skating Union have conducted several figure skating competitions that have ushered in international champions such as Martinez. The excellence demonstrated by skaters during competitions is a mark of quality of the world-class venue and facilities of the SM Ice Skating Rink.
“We made the SM Skating Rink to allow Filipinos to experience the kind of entertainment that four-season countries enjoy. Little did we know that through this, we’d also be able to hone the first ever South East Asian Winter Olympian. Of course, we are very happy about what Michael Martinez has accomplished and we promise to continue to support and produce more world class Filipino figure skaters like him,” shares Ed Tejerero, President of SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. (SMLE)
Property conglomerate SM Prime Holdings, Inc. operates ice skating rinks through SM Lifestyle and Entertainment, Inc. at the SM Megamall’s Mega Fashion Hall in Mandaluyong, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay, SM Southmall in Las Pinas and SM Clark in Pampanga.
For information, please visit SM Skating Rink’s website at www.smiceskating.com or visit an SM Skating Rink near you.