Yohan founded East Timor's ski federation and raised $75,000 to fulfill his Olympic dream. He competed in the games, completed the race, and finished 43rd out of 117 players. There were 72 other racers who did not finish or were disqualified during the competition.
Yohan shared what he felt after finishing the race:
WOW what an Experience for Me !!!! This race will always stay in my memory and i hope Timor Leste History. It was hard starting last in one of the hardest course of my life but I finish !!! 43 out of 117 !!!
You are Great thanks for all your support !!!!
After this Olympic Games I felt that i have learned a lot and that i come out of this Games as a grown up man !!!
Before the game, he received a letter of commendation from East Timor’s Prime Minister. Naturally, the Timorese are proud of Yohan’s achievements. Below are some of the messages left by Yohan’s fans on his Facebook account:
Popo Lay: So proud of you Yohan!! Congratulations on being the first person to represent our nation in the winter Olympics and making history. You are a true Timorese hero and a role model for the next generation!
José Antonio G. Casimiro: A top 50 finish is a great achievement. I watched so many before you fall and not complete the race. I was praying that you would get a clean run, and you did. Thank you for putting our tiny little nation on the map.
Many were touched that Yohan wore a Timor clothing during the opening ceremonies:
Jacinta Barreto: You just showed us how to wear Timor tais in winter time…cool and fashionable. Best of luck Yohan..
Carla Araujo Machado: Congratulations! What an emotional moment when u were holding Timor-Leste flag! We are all very proud!
The country’s Minister of State Agio Pereira issued this statement of support for Yohan:
We commend Yohan for his commitment and his pride in Timor-Leste. His efforts, along with those of other athletes that represent Timor-Leste on the international stage, raise the profile of our country and increase interest and engagement.
Meanwhile, Filipino skater Michael Martinez was the Philippines’ sole representative in the Sochi games. He qualified in the finals and finished 19th.
Many Filipinos were inspired by Michael who learned to skate only in a shopping mall and he succeeded in becoming an Olympian despite being an asthmatic.
But while Filipinos cheered his triumphant participation in the Winter Games, many people criticized the government for the little assistance it gave to the young skater. It was also reported that Michael’s family had to mortgage their house in order to raise funds for Michael's Olympic preparation. Apparently, the president didn't receive the letter sent by Michael's mother asking for financial support because it was tagged as spam.
— Sports5 (@Sports5PH) February 14, 2014
#MichaelMartinez was just a kid with a dream. Now he is an Olympic Hero. I hope dt no politician alive takes advantage of his popularity.
— Migs Cortez (@mc6983) February 23, 2014
#MichaelMartinez is the Ice Prince in the land where it never snows
— HAYZY (@hayzyhayze) February 17, 2014
— Margaux Salcedo (@margauxsalcedo) February 14, 2014
Writer Jessica Zafra praised Michael’s mother for guiding the talented teenager to achieve his dreams:
I know nothing about Michael's mother, but I know that she urged her son to fulfill his dream, no matter how borderline bizarre it seemed. Parenting is tough, and parenting a genuine talent is especially hard. You have to be honest about your child's abilities, you can’t let him harbor false illusions. You have to calculate his chances of success and make the necessary sacrifice. Congratulations, Mrs. Martinez, you are the coolest kind of mom.
Michael is back in the Philippines and was welcomed as a hero by his fellow Filipinos:
— Summit Media (@SummitMedia_PH) February 24, 2014