michael is gold!

couldn’t believe that i had not heard / read of michael christian martinez before sochi 2014.  my bad?  and/or media’s?  whatever, that was quite a two-night high, watching this 17-year old competing with the world’s best and being dazzled by his talent and passion and tenacity.

on facebook it was good that above the babel of high hopes for a gold (sana matisod ang japan at canada, haha), there was the voice of prof. neil garcia, once a rollerskater and skateboarder himself, who has been following the olympic event “since forever,” and who placed it all in perspective in this thread of observations.

J. Neil C. Garcia

just to make the cut for the free skate–that’s achievement enough (his real olympics will be in 2018, when he will hopefully have a quad or quads, and his other triples will be more secure, his line more graceful and powerful).


but what an olympics this has been! first, there was that obviously scripted but still shocking withdrawal by plushenko (that had the bulk of the audience–russians, naturally–heading for the exit); then there was jeremy abbott’s horrendous fall (that visibly knocked the wind out of him) and grim determination to finish his skate anyway (reassembling his program from scratch, almost, well enough to still rack up some points); then there was yuzuru’s incredible score, followed closely enough by patrick’s (and the two of them are way out ahead of the rest of the finalists); then there was the almost pitifully empty arena (less than a quarter of the seats were occupied); then there were all these botched quads, popped triples, and falls, all resulting in unseemly and unbecomingly low scores for most of the competitors… the pertinent ‘first’ of course is the entry and qualification of our own lone teenage olympian, who has certainly done us all proud. a memorable evening it has been, after all. here’s to a respectable and clean free skate for mcm tomorrow!


mcm himself admitted in the post-skate interview that his combination jumps are his waterloo. without them naman, he can’t go very far in the free skate. if i were him, i’d go for a double (rather than a triple) toe tacked at the end of a triple lutz and a triple loop and that second triple axel. pwede na yun. don’t na try for a triple triple. basta clean, para memorable na rin. and his ina bauer, which is great, along with the biellmann: female moves, and among the guys only he can do them–he should highlight them as transitions.


he doesn’t have the mature line and edges yet. clearly visible, this youthfulness, when seen side by side the higher-scoring skaters that came after him. he’ll gain all of that with more training. i really hope he gets a sponsor–maybe some rich tycoon, fil or filam–who will put him up in michigan or somewhere else in the us, and basically allow him the opportunity to get better at his craft.


his nebelhorn and earlier competitions saw him holding his positions longer. it’s the nerves–they obviously got to him, even if only a little.


who wrote this report? several triple axles? he did just one triple aXEL; a downgraded triple lutz combo (ended up doubling the toe loop), a triple loop and a cantilever (a kind of inside-edge spread eagle, with knees bent, back leaning). his best (because unique elements) were in the transitions (the ina bauer, for example) and the spins (the i-spin and the biellmann). hay. it’s time we brush up on the elements of this very complicated sport.

yes, and it’s time that government and the tycoons give the young man all the support he clearly deserves.  we have in michael a national treasure, so young and already skating, strutting, on the world stage, doing the nation proud.  and those 10 minutes when he was number one of six, that was a glimpse of gold that augurs great for his future.


  1. still from neil: “i’m happy this country has come to be curious of and/or interested in this sport, which i’ve loved since forever. the code of points has been in place for more than a decade now (replacing the more subjective 6.0 system), and its rigors and requirements have–i’m more and more convinced–pushed the difficulty levels so much that the bodies of competitive skaters are breaking down earlier, and the demand for higher and higher technique is slowly edging beauty and joy out of the scene… yesterday, evgeni plushenko had to withdraw in what would have been his fourth olympics outing (as a solo competitor), but there was a time when he was–for a number years, in fact–on top of this game. when he was at the peak of his powers, again and again he skated what to me are still the gold standards in this beautiful but physically merciless sport.

    “here he is, in his country’s national championship, a decade ago (before all the surgeries and titanium plates), where he earned eleven perfect scores. unrepeatably gorgeous. amazing.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEJXkfMYTX4 Plushenko Nijinsky Best Performance Eleven 6.0s!!