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Michael Martinez pulls out from Beijing Winter Olympics qualifiers

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Aug 20, 2021 8:34 pm

Two-time Winter Olympian Michael Martinez will not be competing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The Philippine Skating Union (PHSU) announced Friday, Aug. 20, Martinez’s withdrawal from his bid to compete at the Nebelhorn Trophy, the Olympic Qualifying tournament for figure skating, as he continues to recover from his “on and off” injuries.

“With Michael continuing to recover from his on-and-off injuries, he, along with his Coach, Nikolai Morozov, see it fit and more viable to concentrate on his overall healing for the time being,” said the PHSU in a statement.

With this, Martinez and his team have decided to dedicate the remainder of the competition season to prepare for future international tournaments, including adjusting his programs and adapting new techniques while training in Moscow, Russia.

“Despite the three-year absence from competing, Michael is ultimately grateful for all the outpouring support given to him since the beginning of his Olympic journey. He will continue to recover well, work hard, and devote his time to skating his best,” wrote the Philippine Skating Union, which said it supports Martinez’s decision and will continue to do so should the Olympian decide to join competitions in the future.

The announcement came hours after the PHSU named Edrian Celestino and Sofia Frank as the country’s representatives to the qualifying tournament set on Sept. 22 to 25 in Oberstdorf, Germany.

In April, Martinez set up a GoFundMe page, seeking financial support for his qualifying bid to Beijing Winter Olympics. As of this writing the GoFundMe page is still up, with over $21,681 (P1 million) donations covering his $50,000 (P2.5 million) goal. Almost 500 individuals donated to the fundraiser.

Martinez represented the Philippines at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, and at the PyeongChang Winter Games in 2018. He is the first figure skater from Southeast Asia to compete in the Winter Olympics.

Banner and thumbnail photos from @mz_viral on Instagram