MANILA, Philippines – Michael Christian Martinez stood alone but tall for the Filipinos back home in the elaborate opening ceremonies of 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia early Saturday.
Martinez, amid the swollen number of delegates from other nations, beamed proudly as he waved the Philippine Flag during the athletes’ entrance at the Fisht Olympic Stadium.
The 17-year-old homegrown figure skater is the lone representative of the Philippines, marking a return after a 22-year-absence from the Winter Games.
In contrast, the United States sent a record of at least 230 athletes, the largest for any country, to compete this year.
Martinez, who hails from Muntinlupa, is also the first figure skater to carry the nation’s colors in the history of the Winter Games.