MANILA, Philippines – Julian Macaraeg didn't get to bring home a medal in the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, but the setback motivated him even more.
Macareg, the country's first short track speed skater to compete in the quadrennial meet for junior athletes, continues to dream big as he aims to qualify and bag the country's first medal in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
"In two years in Beijing, I hope to receive a medal in the Winter Olympics Games," said Macaraeg in an interview with the Olympic Channel.
The 14-year-old took part in the mixed NOC team relay that finished 4th in the semifinals 1, a result that relegated the squad in the Final B race as only the top two teams in the semis get to compete in the Final A in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In the individual events, Macaraeg placed 13th overall after ranking 9th out of the 32 skaters at the men's 500m and 29th at the men's 1000m events.
The New York-based skater qualified for the Youth Olympics after clocking 43.7 seconds in the 500-meter event in the 2019 ISU Junior World Short Track Championships last year.
Macaraeg, whose Filipino parents migrated to the US in the 1990s, started skating when he was 3 years old.
Since then, his life revolved around the rink as he played ice hockey since he was 4 years old and learned speed skating when he was 10 years old.
Among his idols are Filipino gymnast Carlos Yulo, who bagged the country's first world gymnastics gold and qualifed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
"Carlos Yulo is an inspiration to me because he was able to score a gold in the world championships for gymnastics. I want to say thank you to him for making all the Filipinos proud," added Macaraeg.
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.