By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Figure skater Michael Martinez left for Los Angeles, California on Tuesday to get a head start in his participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which officially starts Friday.
The 21-year-old Martinez, one of the country’s two representatives in Games, still has one week left before he sees action in the men’s singles skating.
The men’s short program is scheduled on Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. (9 a.m. in Manila), followed by the men’s free skate on Feb. 17 at the same time. All figure skating events will be held at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
Despite landing a spot only last Feb. 9, Martinez earlier said he hasn’t ceased training under Ukrainian Coach Vyachelsav Zagorodnuyk.
But he focused on honing his skills on his split spins and his humps, which have become consistent challenges for him in the past.
A second-timer in the Games, Martinez hopes to surpass his 19th place finish at the 2014 Sochi meet when he was 17. The Muntinlupa-born athlete said he has gained maturity over the past years since his debut in the Games, taking risks in his routines and improving his style.
He finished ninth in last year’s Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan.
As of last season, Martinez is expected to perform Emerald Tiger by Vanessa Mae on his short program while choosing between El Tango de Roxanne (from Moulin Rouge) and Tango de los Exiliados by Walter Taieb and Vanessa Mae in free skate.
Martinez was the first alternate replacement for the men’s singles skating, getting the allocation after Sweden declined to take up its quota place for the event.