Filipino ice skater, winter Olympian and homegrown skating rink talent Michael Martinez comes home from a much-lauded performance at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia as he went straight to SM Mall of Asia this Sunday February 23, for his homecoming welcome and press conference set up by the SM group.
During the warm welcoming for Martinez, an awarding ceremony inside the mall, the SM group prepared “surprise” gifts for the Olympian.
Figure skater Michael shared his feelings his inspiring journey and dedicates his breakthrough stint in the 2014 Winter Olympics to fellow Filipino athletes who also deserve support for representing the Philippines in the international sporting scene.
Martinez thanked his family, sponsors and the public for supporting his journey in Sochi, Russia, where he captured the world's attention as the first Southeast Asian to compete in the men's singles event.
SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy pledged to support Martinez in his goal to qualify and hopefully earn the country's first medal in the Winter Olympics in the 2018 edition in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
During the press conference, Martinez was given a "Lifetime Skating Privilege" and $10,000 by the SM group. Businessman Manuel Pangilinan earlier gave the same amount to the skater's mother.
“We are very proud of Michael. Not only did he give honor to our country, but he is also a shining example for the youth as someone who saw no limits to what he can achieve. He has already inspired millions by following his dreams and by competing in the Winter Olympics. He will continue to inspire us all as he works towards earning medals in the future Olympic competitions,” SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy said.
During his formative years as a figure skater, Martinez frequented SM Southmall in Las Piñas and much later on, SM Mall of Asia for figure skating competitions despite frequent bouts of asthma.
Since skating at nine years old, Martinez has garnered 194 medals and trophies from various international and local competitions. He is currently ranked 19th in the world based on his recent performance at the Winter Olympics.
Martinez clinched 7th place at the 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany that qualified him for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Through the years, SM and the Philippine Skating Union have conducted several figure skating competitions that bred international champions such as Martinez.
SM operates ice skating rinks through SM Lifestyle and Entertainment, Inc. at the SM Megamall Building D in Mandaluyong, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay, and SM Southmall in Las Pinas.
Michael Christian Martinez is a worth emulating, an inspiration not just for our young people but for every Filipino.
Congratulations Michael and we are proud of you !