Athletes Supporting Athletes: Crowdfunding Figure Skater Michael Martinez
How can someone from a tropical country with no snow compete in the Winter Olympics? It seemed impossible but, 17-year old Michael Christian Martinez became the Philippines’ only bet in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and the country’s first Winter Olympian in two decades.
Olympic dreams start all over the world each and every day, Nicholas McCarvel of NBCOlympics.com writes, about the Philippines’ lone representative in this year’s Winter Olympics at Sochi. For Olympian figure skater Michael Martinez, it was in an air-conditioned shopping mall in humid Manila at the age of nine.
In the Winter Olympics 2014, he finished 19th with a total score of 119.44. American figure skater and three-time US national champion National Johnny Weir remarked during Martinez’ performance that he’s “definitely a shining star for the future… A 17-year-old in his first Olympics, it’s got to be mind-boggling and daunting but he has great technique… he just really needs polish and I think he’ll be right up there.”
Training and participating in international competitions may be a daunting task for someone his age but that hasn’t stopped him from living his dream. Michael is competing this coming March 10 at the World Junior Championships in Bulgaria and has already set his sights in the 2018 Winter Olympics. To reach his full potential, Martinez needs adequate support to achieve his Olympic dream and we can make that happen.
Crowdfunding platform Gift Launcher Founder Kenneth Reyes-Lao started the campaign Athletes for Athletes to empower everyone to contribute to Michael’s dream. “GiftLauncher is a crowdfunding platform that allows everyone to pitch in for that perfect gift. Crowdfunding is rooted in the Filipino practice of Ambag where we pool our resources together to be able to give more. We just wanted to give Michael his perfect gift, and we know that a lot of other people feel the same way. Starting the crowdfunding campaign for Michael was our way of saying thank you for making every Filipino proud,” he says.
Gift Launcher has opened the platform to athletes such as UAAP Volleyball Player Gretchen Ho, Triathlete & Blogger Noelle de Guzman, Swimmer and Triathlete Ian Banzon and Mt. Everest Mountaineer Reggie Pablo have expressed their support for Michael by using their influence to crowdfund the figure skater. All have started a crowdfunding wishlist at Giftlauncher.com, where anyone from all over the world can support Michael through Paypal, G-cash and online bank transfers, ATM Banking, and even non-banking facilities through Dragonpay, making sure your transactions are safe and secure. All donations and proceeds will be turned over to Teresa Martinez, Michael’s mother, after the campaign period.
Fellow athletes are also encouraged to create crowdfunding wishlists of their own and spearhead campaigns in their own schools and respective groups. Netizens are urged to share the campaign online and use the Twitter hashtag #SupportMichael.