AFTER Michael Martinez finished an ice show at the SM Megamall Skating Rink, a Japanese woman called him from the sidelines.
The lady was waving Philippine and Japanese flags all throughout the performance of Martinez and 10 other figure skaters. Calling him over, she handed a package to the lithe and lanky 19-year-old, who smiled and thanked her in fluent Japanese as he autographed the flags.
“Well I love anime and I love Japan of course. I just said, ‘Thank you for coming and watching!'” said Martinez, who is half Japanese.
The Winter Olympian admitted he is a fan of anime and Korean TV shows. He is currently following Attack on Titan and Naruto, even adopting popular anime character’s trademark pose.
It may be the offseason for the Philippines’ only Winter Olympian, but he has been kept busy with his first training camp for aspiring young skaters in Manila and giving back to his supporters via meet-and-greet events such as the two ice shows on Saturday.
He will be leaving for Cebu on June 30 to conduct a two-day training session there.
The production showcased the talent of several promising Pinoy figure skaters. Aside from Michael, 10 figure skaters performed their winning programs in the 2015 National Skating Championships for the public.
“It feels really great to perform in my home rink. To see everybody smiling when I’m on the ice is really great,” he told SPIN.ph.
Hundreds of fans, predominantly teenaged girls, came from all over Metro Manila and as far as neighboring provinces, just to watch Martinez, et al, jump, spin, and dance on the ice and had their photos taken and signed by the athlete. Some brought him gifts such as flowers and hand-drawn portraits.
Martinez will soon be leaving for the US to resume his training for three weeks before returning to Manila to compete for the Asian Trophy.