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Michael Martinez’s risky routine only nabs silver

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A new, untested routine might have cost Michael Martinez the gold medal in the ice skating competition of the 29th Southeast Asian Games.

One of the athletes listed to take home gold, the Olympian — who participated in the 2014 Sochi Games — admitted that he had gambled on a new program that prompted him to lose the gold in the men’s individual figure skating event at the Empire City Arena in Damansara Perdana late Sunday.

Instead, Martinez settled for the silver with 171.63 points – his lowest tally in any international competition – behind hometown bet Julian Yee, who tallied 205.43 points to clinch the gold.

“Basically this was the first time I was trying out my new program in a competition. This is so far the hardest among all the programs I have ever done,” he said.

“It usually takes three to four months to master the routine.

“This was the first time I included quads (jumps) in my program, so there were still some refinements to do in my transition,” the 20-year-old admitted.

On the other hand, the Malaysian opted to play it safe using a tried and tested routine, according to him.

“Yee played it safe and did nothing new. That has been his program for one-and-a-half year[s]. Basically what he did was skate, tumalon, skate, tumalon, while I introduced a lot of new things in my routine,” Martinez shared.

The skater said the lessons learned here would serve him well as he tweaks his routine and prepares in September for the Nebelhorn Trophy, an Olympic qualifying tournament, in Germany.

“This tournament will be the first Olympic qualifier to next year’s Pyeongchang I Winter Olympics,” said Martinez, who placed seventh in the same competition in 2013 that earned him a spot to the Sochi Olympiad.

“I would really like to medal this time should I qualify.”

Performing in his first SEA Games, he added, “[it] was a memorable experience which I hope I can repeat two years from now in Manila, where I definitely will go out to win the gold.”

Next up for the Philippine ice sports squad is Filipino-American Kathlyn Santos, who will see action in the women’s individual 500-meter race in speed skating at the same venue on Tuesday.

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Figure Skating

Michael Martinez reflects on 4CC, plans for Worlds

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After two years on hiatus, 2014 Sochi Winter Games Olympian and Philippine figure skating prodigy Michael Christian Martinez took to the ice in the most recent Four Continents Championship held in Taipei, Taiwan.

Martinez finished ninth in both the short program and free skate to ultimately finish ninth overall.

In an interview with Tiebreaker Times, Martinez shared that he was confident going into the competitions. He said, “yeah, I was pretty confident, me and my coach was, but I guess on the ice you’ll never really know what can happen and it is still different from the competition.” Martinez also believed he could pull through the competition after several clean runs in training.

In the short program, however, the skater bungled his two jumps: the triple lutz-triple toe combo and the triple axel. Martinez was even given a deduction after falling after that triple axel. At that moment, the 19-year-old thought, “I was like, ‘not again.’”

Errors aside, Martinez still garnered a respectable 69.15 points on the strength of his decent program components score. “I was contented and thankful, too, despite the mistakes,” he admitted.

After the short program, Martinez shook off the results and focused his mind on the free skate. The goal of finishing in the Top 10 was still within reach. “Just don’t fall and just think one jump at a time,” he thought to himself.

The thought seemed to rattle Martinez at the start of the free skate after he under-rotated on the same opening triple-triple combo. Nevertheless, the Olympian managed to breeze through the rest of his routine en route to a 142.44 score. Michael again turned to his interpretation and choreography to pull off the mark.

After the competition, he expressed his delight over his performance in his first 4CC after two years of not competing due to injuries. He said, “it was really good; not the results that I was expecting, but both me and my coach are happy with it.”

The first-ever Filipino Olympian figure skater, however, vowed to bounce back big time. “But I’ll do a lot better on Worlds,” he vowed. With a few days left until the sport’s biggest tilt, Martinez shared that he will be putting in more hours both on and off ice. He will also be doing more lessons with coach John Nicks.

The 2015 Asian Trophy champion has his work cut out for him because of his goal at the next World Championships in Boston.

“The goal is to place in the Top 10.”

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