This year, over eighty countries will be represented by nearly three thousand athletes in the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. This year, the teams of the Winter Olympic powerhouses of the United States, Canada and Russia all number in over two-hundred athletes, shattering previous Winter Olympic records. However, on the other side of the spectrum, you have the tropical nations, who typically have few to none representatives in the Winter Olympics. This year athletes from the nations of Dominica, Thailand, East Timor, Togo, Tonga, The Philippines, Venezuela and Zimbabwe are all attempting to turn heads at the Olympics, and no athlete represents this more than the sole Filipino representative Michael Christian Martinez.

Michael Christian Martinez is a seventeen-year old figure-skater who began skating in the year 2005 at the SM Southmall. From there, in the span of nine years, he has placed fifth in the 2013 World Junior Figure Skating Championship and has won two senior international world titles. Martinez, who is now the first Southeast Asian figure skater to ever compete in the Winter Olympics commented in an interview with NBC Journalist Nicholas McCarvel that “There is a lot of pressure on me, and because not only am I skating for my country, but for the hard work I’ve put over the last four years”.

Thankfully, his hard work and dedication has not fallen upon deaf ears, as his efforts have been well received by the international community, this is seen by Filipino ISM Student Jazi Mamaril, who despite not knowing about Martinez prior to the interview said that he felt “very proud” of his nation regardless of how well he does. Another Filipino ISM student Adelle Dimitui, claimed that she is proud that Martinez was “the first Filipino athlete in twenty years”. Either way, Martinez’s story is a true story of both Filipino and Olympic pride over the ages.

Written by: Joseph Hadaway, 11
Photograph by: GMA News (Hyperlink)

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