The country's lone two-time Winter Olympian Michael Christian Martinez is dead set on making a return to the quadrennial meet.
But the Filipino figure skating star admits he currently needs financial support “to help out with the training expenses.”
Martinez, who took a break from the sport in the last couple of years, said he’s “officially back on ice” and plans to qualify again in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics set from February 4 to 20.
“My team and I have organised a fundraising campaign called MICHAEL MARTINEZ - Road to 2022 Winter Olympics to help out with the training expenses for the reason that I currently don't have sponsors yet,” Martinez wrote in a Facebook post.
“So I am humbly reaching out to you to join me on my journey towards the 2022 Winter Olympics and bring recognition once again to the Philippines.”
A member of his team, Geoffried Viz, created a GoFundMe drive with a goal of reaching $50,000 to help Martinez sustain his training expenses in the US as he targets to become the first Southeast Asian to win a Winter Olympics medal.
"Figure skating is a very expensive sport," wrote Viz, noting that they’re spending around $13,000-16,000 a month for coaching and chiropractor fees, training equipment, and ice rental fees among others.
Viz added that Martinez struggled to find more sponsors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The post was also verified by the figure skating star as he reposted it in his Instagram stories.
Martinez made history as the first Southeast Asian to compete in the Winter Olympics during the 2014 Sochi Games.
The 24-year-old skater, who competed in his second Olympics in the 2018 PyeongChang Games, currently trains with Russian coach Nikolai Morozov.
Also a former Winter Olympian, Morozov has mentored some of the best figure skaters in the world championships and Olympics.
“I am currently doing an intensive training in New Jersey, USA,” said Martinez, noting that he’s preparing for the Nebelhorn Trophy, an Olympic qualifying event, from September 22 to 25 in Germany.
Only 17 years old during his historic 2014 Sochi Games stint, Martinez – who learned how to skate in a shopping mall – was also the youngest figure skater then in the male event.
In the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the Muntinlupa native again made the country proud as he performed to the tune of Vanessa Mae's "Emerald Tiger."
He ended his Winter Olympics campaign with a score of 55.56, recording 26.04 points in the technical elements and 29.52 points for the presentation with zero deductions. He failed to advance to the free skate round after finishing 28th out of 30 participants. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine 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.