Two-time Winter Olympian figure skater Michael Christian Martinez made headlines last week when he released a GoFundMe site asking for financial support for his 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics journey.
Government support for Filipino athletes has always been a tricky subject, with the likes of Chessmaster Wesley So officially becoming a US citizen after consistently airing out frustrations with government assistance.
Sharing with PhilSTAR L!fe, Martinez shared that the decision to start the campaign was borne from the cost of living to continue his training. Since ice rinks are closed in the Philippines amid the pandemic, Martinez’ management supported him during his first month’s stay in New Jersey.
“We were hoping that a month would be enough time to look for sponsors to help me with my training. Since we don’t have sponsors yet, I have been using my savings to continue my training but it is limited and it’s almost depleted.”
Michael and his team are spending over $16,000 (P77,000) of their own money each month in America, and they opened the GoFundMe to relieve some of their expenses. Their target goal is $50,000, or over P2.4 million.
Michael also considered coaching as a sideline but decided against it as he was undergoing intensive training.
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The figure skater added that the Philippine Sports Commission (PCS) hasn’t made contact with the team regarding financial assistance, though he expresses gratitude for their non-fiscal incentives.
“Prior to this, PSC has provided me with a sports psychologist and a nutritionist which I am really thankful for because it helps me maintain a healthy body and mind.”
The Philippine Skating Union has also been in touch with Martinez in looking for sponsors.
“Just recently, my Federation and I have entered into a service agreement so they can send me training support which I am really grateful for because it could really help cover some of my training expenses for this month of April while looking for sponsors.”
As of writing, Martinez’ GoFundMe page has raised over $5,235; or $44,765 short of his goal. The Winter Olympics is set to start on February 4, 2022.