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MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Winter Olympian Michael Christian Martinez came home to a hero’s welcome from Filipinos and sponsors the SM Group after his historic Winter Olympic debut in Sochi, Russia.
Martinez was awarded several recognitions along with rewards for his performance at the Winter Games, where he was the lone representative of the Philippines.
During Martinez’s press conference at the Mall of Asia on Sunday, February 23, Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto personally gave Martinez the Key to the City of Pasay and made him a Proud and Honorary Citizen “in recognition of his outstanding performance” at the Winter Games.
Martinez also received a grant from SM Foundation worth $10,000 to “encourage Michael to continue his training and support his future competitions.” Apart from the grant, Martinez will also receive “other surprise gifts” from SM Supermarket, SM Store, SM Hotels and Conventions Corp.
Right after his 19th place finish in the men’s figure skating finals at Sochi, Martinez was also promised a $10,000 bonus from the MVP Sports Foundation as authorized by business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan.
The rewards did not stop there.
SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. also took it upon themselves to bestow the 17-year old Olympian with a lifetime skating privilege in all SM ice skating rinks in order “to better his talent” and to give Martinez a permanent venue to train.
Martinez started his journey at SM Southmall’s rink in 2004 and continued to train there as well as at SM Mall of Asia’s rink through the years.
SM Global Pinoy, a “specialized all-in-one convenience stop within SM Supermalls offering various exclusives services, perks, and privileges,” also recognized Martinez as an Honorary Member.
“I would like to begin by expressing my appreciation for everyone who warmly welcomed me back,” said Martinez. “I would like to thank God for His never-ending grace, mercy and provision during what ended up to be the best day of my life.”
He added, “Skating and representing the Philippines during the Olympics was truly a dream come true.”
Martinez arrived in Manila on Sunday, February 23 from Sochi, Russia and was immediately whisked away into a celebratory a motorcade, which passed through Roxas Boulevard all the way to Mall of Asia.
The young figure skater will also be conducting several meet-and-greets along with live skating performances as a way to thank his fans.
Martinez will begin his meet-and-greet tour on February 24 at the SM Southmall Ice Skating Rink from 4 to 5 p.m. On February 25, he will be at the SM Mall of Asia Ice Skating Rink at 12 noon, before heading to the SM Skating Rink in Megamall’s Mega Fashion Hall later that day from 4 to 5 p.m. – Rappler.com