The rise of the Philippines in figure skating

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by AlexDSSF, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. AlexDSSF

    AlexDSSF Member

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    The Philippines (my parents' home country) is a relative newcomer to competitive figure skating. No skater representing the 7,107 islands has ever made it to the Olympics. Ironically, a few skaters of Filipino heritage have: Elizabeth Punsalan, Amanda Evora and Christina & William Beier. But it looks like history could be made soon.

    Last year Chris Caluza finished 21st at Worlds; to my knowledge he is the first Filipino to make the free skate at a major ISU championship outside of Junior Worlds and Four Continents. Michael Martinez just came off a 5th place finish at Junior Worlds, unprecedented for a skater from a country that doesn't even have snow. Both have improved their personal bests this season. Chris will be in London, ON for Worlds, and if he skates well, the Philippines may have its first-ever Olympic figure skating berth in Sochi. If successful, the Philippines will return to the Winter Olympics after a 22-year absence.

    Granted, Chris and Michael have some way to go before they can challenge for medals. But they seem to be in good hands, and who knows? The Philippines may have TWO spots at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Most developing countries in figure skating are lucky if they can produce just one adequate skater!
  2. Artistic Skaters

    Artistic Skaters Drawing Figures

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    Excellent topic AlexDSSF! Count me in as one who is very excited about the future of skating for the Philippines. Skaters in the Philippines previously seemed so focused on the ISI events, but now it seems like more & more will be making the transition over to ISU competitive skating.

    It was such a thrill to see Michael Martinez place 5th at Jr. Worlds after the years of watching & waiting while the Philippines went through the ISU process. Figure skating is as good a match for Filipinos as their love of musical theater, so I will be hoping for continued good results as their skaters move up the ranks.
  3. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    This is cool news. I love when warm weather countries show that figure skating is not just a sport for peoples in freezing lands.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  4. 4rkidz

    4rkidz GPF Barcelona here I come

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    I'm assuming both of these skaters train in the US? I noticed they were both really artistic skaters as well as excellent technicians - do they have similar coaching/training? I will look to watching their progress.. :)
  5. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    I can think of one more: Tai Babilonia. Randy Gardner and she finished fifth in the Pairs competition in Innsbruck in 1976, won the World Championships in 1979, and, of course, made it to the Olympics in 1980 but did not compete.

    :wuzrobbed
  6. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    According to his ISU bio, Martinez trains primarily in the Philippines and only spends a couple of months per year in the US.
  7. Willowway

    Willowway Well-Known Member

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    I am impressed that these two young men have come so far (and have farther to go) under such difficult circumstances- there are such limited resources right now for them at home. Michael does spend months per year here in the US in CA with Ilia Kulik (also some input from John Nicks) - Ilia has such great things to say about what a talented and hard-working young man Michael is. I'm not sure where Chris trains - can someone fill in that info?

    I look forward to seeing the sport get a lot more notice for them at home.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  8. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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  9. RUKen

    RUKen Guest

    Melissa Bulanhagui, a Filipino-American, is now representing the Philippines in ISU events, and has an outside shot of qualifying for the Olympics.

    The pairs team of Kloe Bautista and Tyler Harris had intended to skate for the Philippines (Kloe is Filipino-American), but she suffered a career-ending injury last summer.
  10. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

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    There's also Alisson Perticheto who is half-Swiss and finished 18th in Junior Ladies at the most recent World Championships.
  11. Celine82

    Celine82 Well-Known Member

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    Alisson is actually half Filipino and half Italian, but she grew up in Switzerland indeed (she doesn't have Swiss citizenship).
  12. rosewood

    rosewood Well-Known Member

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    YAY I love Caluza :cheer2:
  13. icedancefan

    icedancefan New Member

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    So basically americans who are born in USA, grew up in the USA, and train in the USA skating under a flag other than the USA.
  14. mgobluegirl

    mgobluegirl Well-Known Member

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    Who cares? It's cool that they're doing well in their opportunities to skate internationally, and as posted earlier, Michael Martinez does skate in the Philippines. And by virtue of their good results, they could inspire future generations of skaters in the Philippines. It's always nice to see new and different flags represented in ISU championships, and expanding the sport internationally can't hurt.
  15. love_skate2011

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member

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    yeah one can just look at Kim Yuna's impact in Korea in FS
    It always nice to have promsing skaters in small federations other than USA, Russia, Japan , Canada etc.
  16. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    Were country switches a problem for you when it was Tanith Belbin? What about when foreign coaches come to the US to train mainly American skaters?

    I don't see an issue. It's been happening forever, and not just with American-born skaters. Skaters who would otherwise be struggling to qualify out of regionals/sectionals might get a chance to compete internationally and hopefully inspire a few local kids to take up the sport. I'm not going to begrudge skaters the opportunity to compete after years of hard work and financial investment.

    And, as has been noted, Martinez, who probably has the most potential, was born and raised in the Philippines and still trains there for most of the time.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  17. icedancefan

    icedancefan New Member

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  18. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Ah, Mrs. Mitchell! Long time, no see! :)
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  19. icedancefan

    icedancefan New Member

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    What they did was total abuse of their position. I don't know who you are referring to but I am not remotely connected to any skater.

    What is the point of having multiple federations-many of whom have little clout-to be only represented by skaters from huge feds like USA, Canada, Russia?
  20. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    Christopher Caluza is one of the most interesting skaters competing at present.

    He's really elegant and presents his programs beautifully. He has the overall package, if there ever was one.

    1. Who cares?

    2. Michael Christian Martinez was born in the Philippines, grew up in the Phillippines and spends the vast majority of the year training in the Phillippines.

    3. I take it you don't mind that it's pretty much exclusively Russian coaches who have built up the US Ice Dance program?

    And you know that how?
  21. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    You must not be an ice dance fan. ;)

    I was making a jocular reference to Lynn Mitchell. Google is your friend. :)

    Well, let's see.....

    Russia has recently been represented by Yuko Kawaguchi, who was born in and used to skate for Japan, Tatiana Volosozhar, who was born in and used to skate for Ukraine, Jonathan Guerreiro was born in Australia and reprented that country before changing federations, and Ksenia Makarova, who used to skate for the United States. If we go back a little further, we see that Elena Berezhnaya skated for Latvia before she skated for Russia, Fedor Andreev skated for Canada before he skated for Russia, and Julia Obertas was born in and skated for Ukraine before she skated for Russia.

    Canada has recently been represented by Piper Gilles, who used to skate for the United States. Kaitlyn Weaver skated for the United States before representing Canada. Bryce Davison was born in the United States and has never relinquished his American citizenship. Utako Wakamatsu competed internationally for Japan before representing Canada, and she actually chose not to obtain Canadian citizenship because it would mean relinquishing her Japanese citizenship. Viktor Kraatz was born in West Germany.

    The United States has been represented internationally by, among others, Rena Inoue and Kyoko Ina, who had previously skated for Japan, Gorsha Sur, Denis Petukhov and Peter Tchernyshev, who had previously skated for the U.S.S.R. and/or Russia, and Todd Sand, who had previously represented Denmark. Joelle Forte and Ann Patrice McDonough were born in South Korea.

    What is the point of allowing these federations to have so much clout when they have to filch their talent from other federations?
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  22. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    :D

    +1
  23. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    Actually, only 5 of the 20 ladies at 2013 Four Continents were born outside the country they represent and I know all 5 have set foot in their respective countries before due to family ties and/or competitions there. Not all of them are wealthy either and usually have to cover their own competition costs.
  24. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  25. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Dual or multiple US/[other(s)] citizenship is not a loophole: the Supreme Court ruled that it was the constitutional right of US citizens to retain their US citizenship while attaining or being born into others in most cases.
  26. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    This is very true, and thank you for clarifying, but when people object to skaters shopping around for federations, I don't think they are concerned about what USA law is--though it is of course relevant to the IOC. As a fan, I feel that a few American skaters are lame for changing countries to do singles when they had opportunities in pairs within the United States, but that is my opinion. Clearly, funding and federation politics come into play, and so may the dangers of pair skating, so I cannot can say what is the right decision for that individual.

    I believe some degree of patriotism and continuity is good. Having ancestral or familial ties to a country you represent is good. These are just my personal feelings on the matter. The AZE federation has sometimes seemed like the Cayman Islands of skating citizenship.

    I apologize for this diversion from celebrating the rise of multiple skaters from the Philippines.
  27. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    As you noted, pairs skating isn't for everyone, nor should it be viewed as a plan B for lower ranked men and ladies. If it's what they want to do and they're good at it, that's great - but if they have other options they'd rather explore, that's fine too.

    That is indeed a welcome trend. And even if not all of them live in the Philippines, having skaters of different backgrounds makes the sport more diverse, which is also good.
  28. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    I agree with you so much about the value of diversity of nations and peoples. Somebody mentioned the Phillippines and performing arts, and it is true that they have many good actors and singers. It would not surprise me if skating keeps growing there.
  29. Bournekraatzfan

    Bournekraatzfan New Member

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    Thank you so much for starting this thread, AlexDSSF!

    I have been following some of the Filipino skaters, especially Christopher Caluza (and it is nice to encounter some of his other fans here:)), whom I think is a beautiful skater. Is he still being coached by N. Bobrina?

    and I think Melissa Bulanhagui has a definite shot at making the Olympics next year.

    I have long admired the arts programs in the Philippines, and I would love to see that influence in figure skating.

    ITA.
  30. Bournekraatzfan

    Bournekraatzfan New Member

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    haha, love it:)
  31. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Bobrina was with Caluza in the K&C at Worlds.
  32. Bournekraatzfan

    Bournekraatzfan New Member

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    thanks, Ziggy. I missed the live stream so I didn't get to see all of the skaters. I was hoping someone would upload his performance to youtube, but I haven't found anything yet.
  33. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

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    Will be interesting what the decision process will be for the male entrant for Nebelhorn. I think both should make top 6 (based on those countries who still need to qualify)
  34. zilam98

    zilam98 New Member

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    being filipina myself, i would love to see the philippines make an impact on ice-dancing since dancesport is huge there, and we filipinos love dancing.
  35. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    I love Caluza but Martinez needs to go. 5th at Junior Worlds, big momentum behind him, judges seem to love him and he has a 3axel that's consistent.
  36. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    Christopher Caluza article/interview: http://web.icenetwork.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130521&content_id=48160754&vkey=ice_news
    Excerpts:
    ETA that the second ISU World Development Trophy was held in Manila from April 16-20 and included a one day competition for Junior/Novice singles skaters - link to the thread in GSD with a local preview article and results: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/sho...pment-Trophy&p=3905294&viewfull=1#post3905294
    Last edited: May 21, 2013
  37. spikydurian

    spikydurian New Member

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    Looking forward to Caluza's new programs. It's good to know that these smaller more unknown countries in skating can groom skaters like Caluza. Hope to see more skaters from small countries. Maybe some day, Philippines can have a world medallist.:respec:
  38. torren

    torren New Member

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    Japan federation is also considered to huge fed in figure skating.
  39. Andrey aka Pushkin

    Andrey aka Pushkin Brezina's Nemesis

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    I care (obviously).
    It might not be the case for the current Philippines skaters, but in general I heavily dislike the "Azerbaijan Syndrome", both as a skating fan and as a spectator. When US number 4 can't skate in the 4cc, but US number 58 can because she found some distant relation to an obscure Asian country, I find that both unwatchable and against the sports spirit.

    And no, that doesn't help to develop the local skating. It's very difficult to develop the local skating if
    1)it didn't exist to start with.
    2)the "imported star" doesn't even appear in her/his "home country" and if s/he does, s/he can't communicate with the local skaters for lack of common language.
    3)every time a local skater appears, s/he gets replaced by a slightly better foreign import.
    In fact, it does exactly the opposite: kills the national skating.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not against changes of countries, but there must be some sane limit to it. Philippines might not be an example for the absurd the change of flags became (if the info on this thread is correct), but Azerbaijan and some other federations definitely are.
  40. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    By and large, the U.S. and Canadian skaters who skate for overseas federations fall into two categories.

    1. People with a close family connection to other countries. (Typically, their parents were immigrants.)
    2. People wishing to compete in ice dance or pairs with a skater from another country.

    North American skaters in the first group often either have citizenship in the second country from birth or can obtain it as a matter of right.

    North American skaters in the second group typically are chosen because their partner cannot find anyone suitable in his or her own country. These skaters have to earn citizenship if they want to skate in the Olympics, usually by having what is considered to be "extraordinary talent."

    I would agree that having an "imported star" doesn't usually help develop skating in the new "home country," but that's largely because the skater usually doesn't actually stay there, train there, or coach younger skaters there. On the other hand, it simply isn't true that none of these skaters can communicate in the local language. Many immigrant families do speak their ancestral language at home.

    I'm also not sure that it is true that "every time a local skater appears, s/he gets replaced by a slightly better foreign import." With the current qualifying rules, the homegrown skaters usually cannot get into the ISU Championships any more. The one place one might expect to see the effect you are describing is on the Junior Grand Prix, but I am not sure that this is the case, and even if it is, there are Junior "B" events at which those skaters can compete.