Michael Martinez puts on a show for fans
MANILA, Philippines — Michael Christian Martinez, dressed in a black outfit with gaudy accents, spun in the air before landing smoothly and gracefully.
Martinez nailed spins and stunts and glided through ice with ease like the kind of show he put on at the Iceberg Skating Palace. But this isn’t in Sochi where his triple axels and jumps are performed under pressure before a hostile crowd, this is in Manila in an intimate setting before a screaming hometown crowd inside the very same skating rink in a mall where he usually trains.
After his historic performance in the recently-concluded 2014 Winter Olympics, Martinez, who just arrived Sunday, put on a pair of skates for his fans, who crowded around the rink with their cameras to capture his every move.
“Thank you to everyone who came out and for supporting me,” Martinez, who circled around the Olympic-sized rink and waved to his fans after his brief performance, said during a meet and greet Tuesday.
“Nakaka-proud panoorin siya habang nandoon siya sa Winter Olympics sa Sochi, Russia (I feel proud watching him while he was in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia),” said a young fan standing just outside the meet and greet area. She, along with many others, held up posters showing love and gratitude for the lone Filipino Olympian to ring in an emotional moment.
Fans of all ages waited for hours just to catch Martinez, who gamely posed for pictures and selfies and signed autographs to the first 20 people. His fans came as early as 8 a.m. just to get a slot during the meet and greet.
Martinez even approached two elderly women in wheelchairs and beamingly had a picture taken with them.
Little kids, who came in their figure skating dresses, also had a moment with the 17-year-old Martinez. The two girls even had their skates signed by the teen sensation.
Martinez, who returned home a star after his inspiring stint in the Winter Olympics where no other Southeast Asian figure skater has ever been to, fittingly wound up the day with a message to aspiring figure skaters.
“To [aspiring] figure skaters just dream high, work hard and push yourself to the limit and you’ll be there.”
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.