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List of Articles by Winchell Campos

Chasing A Dream: Michael Christian Martinez Has Achieved the Impossible!

By Winchell Campos
11 Feb 2014

HOW much pain could one endure in order to make a dream a reality? A fractured ankle, a torn ligament in the knee and ankle? How much tears could roll down one's cheeks before one could arrive at a place where mere mortals never dared to tread?

On Thursday, February 13, one gallant Filipino will show the world that nothing can beat the human spirit, that nobody can stop one from dreaming even if everyone would find it absurd that someone from the tropics would compete in a stage as huge as the Winter Olympics. In Sochi, Russia, only a few brave souls will vie for greatness, in search for timeless glory only reserved for those who persevered.

Filipino champion Michael Christian Martinez has the scars to show the pain of having one's own metal ice skates cut through one's flesh five years ago as he was relatively an unknown trying to chase a passion for greatness. His skates slashed and cut through his thighs and had to wait for two months before the wound could heal. Nothing would stop him from thereon.

Those were the days when he was just a neophyte trying to perfect lutzes, axels and choctaws, skating maneuvers that are as German-sounding as the Philippine tropical climate of wet and dry. While there has been snow and frost atop Mt. Pulag, there is almost zero culture among Filipinos when it comes to ice, unless one craves for halo-halo.

Making it big one day may not even have crossed his mind. For one, probably less than five in every one hundred people may not have tried putting on a pair of ice skates. A lesser number could probably not have tried soaring to the air and landing square on one's feet.

Out of the 100 million Filipinos, there might only have been one person who has done a triple salchow and live to tell the tale of how wonderful it is to become flightless and fright-less, as well.

How technical is a salchow? Imagine this: The Salchow (Ulrich Salchow of Sweden, popularized the move in 1909) is normally approached from a forward outside three-turn, on the left foot for a counterclockwise jump. On the left back inside edge after the turn, the skater checks the rotation momentarily with the right foot extended behind, then initiates the jump by swinging the right leg forward and around with a wide scooping motion. The rotational momentum for the jump is gained by the swinging movement of the free leg and the coordination of the free leg and arms at the point of takeoff.

Martinez, lithe and full of hope as any 17-year-old would be, will represent the Philippines in the men's short program and the men's free skating events at Sochi, hoping to earn a medal and lift up the dreams of other Filipinos who have little hope in Philippine government, perceived by many as corrupt, inutile and non-existent when it came to tending to the needs of its citizens.

As reports would have it, the Martinezes would have to resort to mortgaging their house in order to pay for their travel and training needs, much more, trying to cope up with the rigors of the daily grind. Several letters and attempts to reach out to the Philippine president Benigno Aquino have turned futile and fruitless. The Philippine Olympic Committee will have to use a microscope in order to find the true talent in this kid, then will take years in order for support to be processed.

"I do not get support from the Philippine government," said Martinez, when interviewed three months ago by Janelle So, a TV show host based in Los Angeles.

For Michael Christian Martinez, living the dream of finally reaching the 2014 Winter Olympics, is as painful but ecstatic as crying himself to sleep after he fractured his ankle last year and had to step into rehab for another two months. Prior to that in 2012, he tore a medial ligament in his knee, which took another three months to heal.

A devout Catholic, he would turn to prayers and prayers alone, in his quest for greatness. To his surprise, his prayers have been answered because he worked as hard as he prayed.

He was asthmatic. He would glide through the ice on nebulizers and medication. His mother, the indefatigable and ever-supportive Maria Teresa Martinez, never stopped dreaming, too. She would reason out that since her son's asthma would eventually heal because of his physical activity, backing up her son's dream is as good as spending sleepless nights in hospitals, anyway.

Martinez lists boxer Manny Pacquiao as his personal heroes and like the prizefighter, he will try to give every Filipino a fleeting moment to dream and hope and pray, and hope that with victory, he will not get taxed of his earnings when he returns home triumphant like Pacquiao.

Win on lose, though, Martinez has already won in the battle called life.

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