Kudos to all Winter Olympic Teams for showing the whole world that indeed nothing can stop them-not even Vladimir Putin- from becoming immortals in the realm of sportsmanship. In Sochi, they are all one in the spirit of fair play to practice sport as a human right, without discrimination of any kind. As of press time, records are being broken, medals are being won and athletic achievements are simply melting the ice in the clear frosty airs of Russia.
Hats off especially to 17-year-old Michael Christian Martinez of the Philippines, the lone figure skater from a tropical country, who has been making big waves in the Olympic scene. He has already made history by becoming the first figure skater from Southeast Asia to clinch a berth at the Winter Olympics. Armed purely with determination and a big dream to represent his country and skate for a medal finish, Michael’s future is already cast. This young man’s humble beginnings started off from a leisurely promenade by an ice skating rink inside a mall in Manila. His passion for skating grew to a hobby but because he was seen potential in becoming a future star, he moved on to training competitively. His story crosscuts between the intermingled lives of his single parent Mom who acts as his partial coach when he could not afford to pay for world-class instructors and those people in power who should have been with him right from the start. His family even mortgaged their home to pay for their tickets to Sochi. During interviews, when asked how he copes with the lack of resources in financing such an almost impossible dream, he quips that he just turns to prayers and divine intervention to guide his glides and routines on thin ice come performance time. Call that heroic– an unwavering dedication and a sense of sacrifice not for self-aggrandizement but for the country.
There is so much love we can all learn from this inspiring skater’s tale. May we all have a champion’s heart like that of Michael’s, to rise in times of difficulty and to achieve great heights against all odds.