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Meet the 3 Filipino figure skaters battling for a slot in the Winter Olympics


With a record-breaking medal tally this year, the Olympics has now stopped being a distant, foreign term. Now, it’s an actual trove of tangible achievements cemented in history books. With multiple prize pledges made to our winners, it’s a good time to remind leaders and privileged folks not to make the same mistake of noticing athletes only after their wins. 

Before a new batch of athletes takes us on another mission to the Olympic map, they should receive proper support. When it comes to the skating rink, three hardworking figure skaters (for the males division) are currently vying for a chance to represent the Philippines in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. 

In a Facebook post last Aug. 4, the Philippine Skating Union (PhSU) announced that an Olympic qualifier evaluation is set to determine who’ll take our country’s only slot for the Nebelhorn trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany in September. Clinching the top spot would be a pass for the skater to participate in the last qualifying event for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

So far, 23-year-old Edrian Paul Celestino is leading  the scoreboard—with 139.90 points in the first round and 191.80 points in the Quebec Summer Championships tilt—ahead of 31-year-old Christopher Caluza and 24-year-old Michael Christian Martinez. 

As an assessment is still ongoing, now’s a good time to gather around and amplify their call for support. If you or someone you know is looking for more reasons why, here are quick facts about each contender in the Olympic qualifier evaluation. 

Michael Christian Martinez

The Philippines’ lone two-time Winter Olympian, Michael Martinez isn’t called our country’s “ice prince” for nothing. The 2014 Sochi Games not only made him the first Filipino but also the first Southeast Asian to battle it out in the Winter Olympics.

“People were saying you’re from the Philippines, it’s a tropical country,” he said in a Reuters article. “I said you know what, it doesn’t matter. So when I did Sochi I was able to open the door and open their eyes.”

Martinez also took home gold at the 2015 Asian Open, silver at the 2017 SEA Games, and the Triglav Trophy twice. 

But before all the accolades, Martinez was a bit like us—lured by the charm of shopping mall ice rinks. In fact, it was the place he discovered his love for the sport. “I started skating in 2005 when I was nine years old. We were in a shopping mall and I saw other skaters jumping and spinning. I wanted to try it,” he revealed, according to the official Olympics website. Throughout his journey, he survived injuries and lack of support. Until now, in the hopes of representing the country at the next Winter Olympics, he’s calling for generous folks to help raise funds for his team’s expenses.

Christopher Caluza

A former U.S. rep in international games, Filipino-American Christopher Caluza began competing for the Philippines in 2012. His origin story?  Roller skating as a young boy in San Diego, California. But one day, the roller rink he frequented closed doors, pushing him and his parents to find a new spot to skate—which marked his shift to ice skating. 

His achievements include bagging gold at the 2019 EduSport Trophy and silver at the 2019 SEA Games. But participating in all these contests not only meant conquering scoreboards but also societal expectations. 

This year, Caluza wrote about his coming out experience. “When I was growing up, being gay was treated as a joke, but I learned more about myself in college. It was difficult to balance school and skating and I gave up school to be part of Team Philippines,” he wrote for Outsports. “I was not the most talented skater, but I did have the drive to follow my passion. I came out as gay as an adult and being out to my peers in skating helped me develop a strong motivation and a sense of freedom.”

This chance to present his story to the world made him realize that not only is he representing the Philippines but also the LGBTQ+ community in his competitions.

Edrian Paul Celestino

Born in Montreal, Canada, Celestino used to carry Canada’s flag in international games. But in 2019, he debuted for the Philippines. “When I used to skate for Canada before making the switch, I just thought I would be, I guess stuck, in that level,” he said in a report by GMA News. “So having the chance to represent the Philippines and maybe potentially going there [to the Olympics] is less of the dream, more of an ambition or more of a goal that I’m working towards.”


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A post shared by Edrian Celestino (@edriancelestino)

Pursuing the sport is definitely more challenging in this chaotic era, and Celestino is no stranger to this struggle. “Being in a difficult time, training was a bit more scarce than the usual,” he said in a GMA report. “I’d say in the past year, I couldn’t skate for maybe five months straight and then there was a time where I had to stop again for a month.” 

Celestino, who landed fourth in the 2019 SEA Games and is the reigning national figure skating champion, has wished for “consistency and discipline” for himself as he skates his way towards the Nebelhorn trophy this year.


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A post shared by Edrian Celestino (@edriancelestino)

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10 films about imperfect, passionate creatives 

(L to R) Edrian Celestino’s photo by Danielle Earl Photography, Michael Martinez’ photo from his Instagram page, and Christopher Caluza’s photo by Annice Lyn (Getty Images)

Art by Yel Sayo



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