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Friday, February 14, 2014

Michael Christian Martinez Qualifies for Finals in Winter Olympics at Sochi

Michael Christian Martinez of the Philippines holds up a jacket at the "Kiss and Cry" area after his figure skating men's short program at Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Feb. 13, 2014. The only Pilipino athlete competing in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics has qualified Thursday night for the final free skate to be held Friday. Competing in the men short program, Martinez at 12 am (Philippine Time) placed 3rd with a score of 64.81, then placed 4th after USA's Jeremy Abbott bagged a score of 72.58. 2 hours later he ranked 9th while Abbott landed down to number 5. Japan's Yuzuru Hanyo scored 101.45 at No. 1. Although more figure skaters like him were still waiting to do their numbers at that point and the score ranking is still changing, Martinez was already in and would be among the 24 skaters competing for the finals. He scored a 33.31 in technical and 31.5 in the component for a 64.81 score. It was his best score of the skating season. Martinez was assured of entry into the free program on Friday after Russian legend Evgeni Plushenko withdrew from the contest, while Viktor Romanekov of Estonia and Brendan Kerry of Great Britain failed to beat the Pilipino's score. His qualifying number was performed to a cut from the 1968 film soundtrack of Romeo and Juliet, including the song "What is a Youth". Martinez a 17 yr. old from Paranaque City caught eye of international news agencies when he became the first representative of South East Asia to compete in the Winter Olympics. The feat was all the more remarkable because he comes from a tropical nation. Before Thursday's competition, Martinez told NBCOlympics.com that it would be already a big achievement if he made it to the top 24. Martinez asked for prayers in his Facebook account and thanked all his supporters. "Please pray for me. My event starts tonight." he said. Last September, Martinez enchanted the judges and audience when he performed to Lucia Micarelli's Nocturne/Bohemian Rhapsody at the 45th Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany. His performance was good enough to qualify him for the Winter Olympics.      
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