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Michael Martinez weeps

Michael Martinez at Sochi
Michael Martinez at Sochi
Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES – Two weeks ago, Michael Christian Martinez’s was happiness personified after winning his third gold medal in International Skating Union-sanctioned men’s skating competition in Slovenia. The other day, in Manila, the charismatic Filipino Olympian was reported to have cried. A popular TV news network had that on its evening news.

At the Martinez’s home in the hills of Bayanan, Muntinlupa, I visited the Martinezes and they confirmed that, “unless a deal comes up that would cover Michael’s training in the next four years,” the road to the 2018 Olympiad is totally inaccessible. How did Michael react? “Umiyak siya,” said Teresa. “But at the same time he completely understands that his family, however willing, just can’t do what it did to him in the last four-five years” – scrimping on whatever funds they could have to sustain his dream of performing in the Olympics.

He was in the medal round of the Sochi Olympics, what more does he want to accomplish? At 17, the youngest figure skater among Olympic qualifiers, Martinez believes he can win an Olympic medal in 2018. If you cannot take his word for itself, the skating world sees him as one of the next important stars in the sport.

But you can’t be an elite skater if you haven’t polished your quad jumps, I said. To that protestation, Michael answered: “With a training program for champion Olympians behind me, I can polish my quad in two years … right now, I am still inconsistent at it.”

Mother and son maintained a guarded stance of any alternative plan they have in mind (if they have any) in case the inevitable happens. Although my reliable sources in Los Angeles are saying an interesting thing is about to unfold.

I have failed my scoop story-hound friends in Los Angeles, but I left the Martinez’s home not totally empty handed. I got an exclusive feed about Michael’s story of “to love and lost it.” While partaking of the sumptuous dinner that Michael himself served for me (lechon, chicken and super-rich choclolate cake), Michael’s mom spilled the beans that while training for Olympics, his son had a crush on a girl who is a member of the South Korean national team. The young Filipino’s first move was tell one of the male members of the Sokor team. Wrong move. The young boy turned out to be the boyfriend of the girl that Michael had a crush on.

Well, Michael, I saw it as a valuable lesson for a young man like you: That is not true that some guys have all the luck. You may have gained the admiration of a lot of young Russian girls and millions more back home, but like what the Little Prince said, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

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