Olympic figure skater Michael Christian Martinez comes home to a hero’s welcome


A hero's welcome met figure skater Michael Christian Martinez as he returned to Manila Sunday after making history at the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Russia.

The 17-year-old athlete arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport past 5 p.m. and was taken by motorcade to the SM Mall of Asia for a program in his honor.

Figure skater Michael Christian Martinez (right), with his mother Ma. Teresa.. (Voltaire Domingo/NPPA IMAGES)At the ceremony beside the mall's skating rink, Martinez thanked his family, mentors and supporters for helping him get to what he called the "best day my life."

ALSO READ: Michael Christian Martinez leaves Sochi injured but happy

But he also rallied support for other Filipino athletes, saying, "I am extremely happy with this hero's welcome but let us not forget our other athlete heroes."

"I share this honor with all Filipino athletes. Mabuhay ang atletang Pilipino," the Philippines' lone representative to the Sochi Games said in his speech.

Martinez received a lifetime skating privilege from SM Malls, which owned the skating rink where the Olympian first learned his sport and where he trained for competitions.

IN PHOTOS: Michael Christian Martinez in competition at the Sochi Olympics

The SM Foundation also gave the skater $10,000. Martinez earlier received a "bonus" of the same amount from business mogul and sports patron Manny Pangilinan.

The figure skater was also named an honorary citizen of Pasay City, which houses SM MOA, where the skater usually trains for his competitions when in the country.

Earlier, Malacañang said the Olympian will also be honored by President Benigno Aquino III but a schedule for the courtesy call has yet to announced.


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