Pinoy Pride: Martinez qualifies for medal round with impressive Olympic debut

(UPDATED) Michael Christian Martinez survived the initial cut Thursday night and advanced to the free skate of men's figure skating in the 22nd Winter Olympics at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia.

Looking like a young prince in his costume, Martinez, 17, wowed the crowd and left the TV announcers thrilled no end with his "stunning routine" while performing through the song entitled "Romeo and Juliet” of Arthur Fiedler.

A proud native of Muntinlupa City, Martinez garnered a score of 64.81, good for third spot among the first 10 competitors but already enough to move on for Friday night's free skate.

A new world record was set in the competitions as Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan got a score of 101.45 ahead of three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada who registered a score of 97.52. Javier Fernandez of Spain, Daisuke Takahashi of Japan, and Peter Liebers of Germany completed the top five.

Martinez ended the round in 19th place overall among 30 competitors, with the top 24 advancing to the medal round. Javier Raya of Spain, Victor Pfeifer os Austria, Paul Bonifacio Parkinson of Italy, Liam Firus of Canada, and Brendan Kerry of Australian failed to qualify.

"We're hoping he makes it and some companies support him," his mother, Maria Teresa Martinez, told the Associated Press. "Otherwise he will just have to stop. We cannot afford it anymore. It's just so expensive and we can't do another four years."

In a stunning development, Russian legend Evgeny Plushenko, a three-time World Championship titlist and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, abruptly pulled out of the competitions citing lower back pain.

Martinez's performance, however, drew the attention of the TV announcers, who gushed: "What a debut for the Philippines!"

"That was fantastic. I honestly didn't think it would be this good," they added.

"I was so nervous," Martinez said to the Associated Press. "This was such a big event. I'm very happy and proud. I missed just one jump but the rest of the program was good."

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