EXPECT an improved Michael Martinez in the next figure skating season.
This was what the Filipino Olympic figure skater said during a press conference on Tuesday where he announced his collaboration with SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc. (SMLEI) and SM Skating in holding a 3-day camp on June 15-17 at Mall of Asia and June 30 - July 1 in SM Seaside City Cebu.
“I’m really on track, yes,” said the 18-year old skater from Muntinlupa City.
Martinez assessed himself as '50 percent' better compared to his skill level last year.
“I risked really a lot especially sa bagong program ko right now. Yung kulang na lang po is yung quad jump, which took me last season to complete. The only problem is I need to land the jump. It will make the difference in the coming season,” explained Martinez.
While he's unimpressed with how he started last season, Martinez closed out strong with his performance in the World Championship, and eventually winning two gold medals and improving his scores.
Martinez is in intense training to qualify in the 2018 Winter Olympics and improve on his performance that earned him the world’s attention in Sochi four years ago. His target? To place in the Top 5 of what has traditionally been a tough men’s figure skating field.
He also assured the country that he would win a gold medal in the upcoming SEA Games in Malaysia.
Coming from a country that's unheralded in the winter sports circuit, Martinez has had to participate in twice the number of tournaments as his contemporaries to remain in the radar and recognition of judges and event organizers. But despite the physical toll he's dealing with in the competitions he joins, Martinez remains unfazed.
“I will still compete in the same amount of competitions,”he shared.
“The injuries nandoon na. Hindi maiiwasan iyun. My previous injuries nandoon na talaga," added Martinez, who makes regular therapy sessions to keep his knees, hips, and back in condition. "I'm holding up pretty well."
When SPIN.ph asked what injury bothers him the most, Martinez pointed to his back. To keep his spine strong, Martinez has been receiving electric tens and ultrasound as part of his therapy.
“Nakikita niyo yung back bendings ko and mga splits? Sinuggest nga po ng doctor ko and the coaches na don’t do it anymore because it’s going to be a big stress on your back kasi nga yung L4 and L5 ko are really close na, there’s no more space,” bared Martinez, who has also been told to eat more and bulk up to support his back.
“My doctor said I should eat 5,000 calories a day!" he added, laughing. "Hindi ko kaya pero kailangan ko talaga because I am burning way too much calories."
For now, Martinez looks forward to the camps where he will share his knowledge and experience to aspiring figure skaters. Starters will be taught how to maintain balance on the ice while the more advanced students will be taught techniques on how to jump and execute spins.
“It’s just really different kasi while I’m training in the US, focus ako sa kailangan kong gawin from the start, 7 a.m. I have to skate and train, train, train hanggang sa matapos, wala focus ka lang. Pero kapag nandito ka, it’s like people here cheer for you. It’s like family here,“ he said.
SMLEI, a constant partner in Martinez's competitions, expressed their full support to the effort by the world-class figure skater to pay back to his fans and young athletes.
“We at SM Skating would like nothing more than to support Michael in his dream to develop budding skaters into Olympic athletes,” noted SMLEI Sports and Development Head CJ Suarez. “We hope to have this camp in place annually during Michael’s off-ice seasons."
"We are also creating full-production, free ice shows starring Michael and the 2015 Philippine national champs. There will be a meet and greet after each show. We hope that this doesn’t only create an interest in the sport, but also create a bigger spark in skaters to give them a push towards training harder for the gold medal,” he added.
Suarez said the camp would be able to accommodate up to 80 participants of all ages. Registration fee for the 3-day camp is P3,500.
After the last leg of the camp and ice shows in July, Martinez will head back to the United States to prepare for the next competition season in August for the Asian Trophy.
For inquiries, visit www.smskatingrink.com or /smiceskating on Facebook.