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Required Elements Exclusive Interview with Jeffrey Buttle

Here's my final Stars on Ice interview. It's with reigning world champion from Canada, Jeffrey Buttle, who is a guest star on the tour this year. He' s one of my favorite people to interview, he just does not stop smiling. I thought it was interesting that he said that winning the world championships was a vehicle to be able to skate in ice shows, which he's always wanted to do. It's obvious from Buttle's words and his performance that he absolutely loves being out there with the tour.

RE: What's the difference between training for Stars on Ice and training for competition?

JB: Well, training for competitions is a little more intense training, but for one single event, we train so hard. And then we get to the competition and we do a short and a long, and that's it. That's what we train for. Training for this is a lot different. It's maybe not as intense, but it's more elongated. We're training for a long period of time. But at the same time, while we're training, we're performing almost every night. So, I guess you could say it's a little bit more mentally exhausting because every night you have to come out and give the most energy that you've got, whereas at home you just give a specific amount and that's all you have to do for the day.

RE: You just won worlds last year and now you're retired. Do you ever regret that decision and do you expect to feel it next year during the Olympics?

JB: I don't think I am, no. I'm really happy with my decision and doing the tour with Stars on Ice has really just solidified that decision. To be quite honest, this is how I fell in love with skating to begin with, is watching shows like this, I had the chance to get a taste of it on the Canadian tour and I just knew that this is what I wanted to do. And obviously, winning the worlds was a great vehicle to be able to do this.

RE: Predict who's going to take your title this year.

JB: Oh, wow. Oh. I would love for it to be Patrick Chan, the Canadian, obviously. He's skating really well, and to be quite honest, I'm in awe when I watch him skate. He's such a great skater and great ambassador. So I hope it's him, obviously. And obviously, because he's Canadian. Honestly, there's so many great skaters out there that could take it. Jeremy Abbott, Brian Joubert, obviously, who was second last year. It's going to be interesting. But my hope is for Patrick.

RE: Which Canadian skaters in general do you think have the best chance of medaling at the Olympics? Aside from Chan.

JB: Definitely Tessa [Virtue] and Scott [Moir]. Jess [Dube] and Bryce [Davison] have won a world medal, so they're a hope. But I would put my money on Tessa and Scott. I think they've been building every single year and despite a little setback this year with the injury I think next year they're going to be in top shape and I think they're going to do really well.

RE: Are you enjoying coaching - what's the difference between being the competitor out there and watching from the sides?

JB: I prefer to do it myself because I'm in control when I'm on the ice. Whereas if I'm watching or trying to coach a skater it's a lot harder to get them to feel what I feel. So it definitely takes a lot more patience to be a coach. I've been doing quite a bit of choreography and I think that's probably more where I will end up putting my energy after I'm finished performing. Looking forward tot hat. I've had the chance to work with some great skaters.

RE: I read an article asserting that Canadian skaters have adapted better to the new scoring system than other skaters from other countries. Do you agree with that? Why?

JB: I think we were really fortunate, because right from the get-go our federation was very adamant on making sure that we understood the new system. It wasn't a matter of competing in it a few years and then sort of trying to explain it to us. They were very proactive about it and I think that's really what helped us. Is that we were ahead of the curve, more or less, and I think in the first few seasons that really helped us. And obviously the other federations were finally understanding that they need to make sure their skaters understand it. But I think we've that little bit of a lead and I think it has helped us in a sense, yeah.

RE: Would you advise Patrick Chan to add a quad?

JB: Well I've trained with Patrick and I've seen him land the quad. That was a coupel years ago and I'm assuming he's still practicing it and I wouldn't be surprised if he's still landing it. But right now, I think, especially this season, he's going to be the top Canadian going in. There's probably going to be a considerable amount of pressure on him this year at worlds, and I think really just to focus on making sure he gets a really good performance done, then he has all season next year to get the quad in the program. But, again, his skating is that good, I honestly don't think he needs it. His skating is just that much better than everyone else's. Not to be mean, it's just he's that good.

RE: A lot of skaters and commentators, they're still pushing the idea that you need a quad to be competitive in men's skating. I think it's obvious you don't necessarily need a quad. Do you think the emphasis on the quads in the media does a disservice by setting up an expectation?

JB: I don't know that it so much sets up an expectation. I think it's a matter of right now, it's possible that, while I obviously proved that last year at the world championships, it is possible to win without the quad. But, that said, all of these great skaters, such as Patrick and Jeremy, and all of these great basic skaters that have good skills, will start pushing the quad. And the one that gets it first is the one that's going to dominate the event, because he'll have both the package and the quad. So I think what they're saying, when they put the pressure on the quad, is why wait until everyone's ahead of you for you to try to catch up and get the quad, why not push it now and get it? And I can understand that sense. But I don't think it's right in saying that right now, it's mandatory that you have it. I think right now it's mandatory that you have everything. Everything else.

RE: So you think it will come back, not that its gone, but it definitely hasn't been necessary for a couple of years in order to win competitions, while it was necessary a few years ago. You think it will go back to the other way?

JB: I think it will. It's making a slow progression towards needing it again. And I think it's a balance. When they put in the new system it became about thinking all the time. You're always thinking in your program and it's a lot harder. I competed under both systems and this new system is so much harder. From little things that seem so minute, from spinning on an inside edge in a sit spin that takes muscular strength, it takes energy and all that thinking takes energy. So, I think as the skaters adapt to the new system, the quad's going to become more prevalent in the event.

RE: What are you doing next year during the Olympics, are you working?

JB: I'm not sure yet. As of now, I'm just basically at the service of the Canadian federation and whatever help they need in preparations, be it advice with my experience with 2006, or whatever they want, I'm there for them. Otherwise I'm just going to be cheering on the team.

RE: Are you going to do the full tour of Stars on Ice ever?

JB: Yes. Definitely. So this year I was sort of added last minute because of my retirement from competition. So I didn't get all of the shows, but definitely, I'm hoping next year I'll have the whole U.S. tour and Canadian too.

RE: What's your favorite part of the show this year?

JB: My favorite part is just being part of the team. You become a family with all the other skaters and you travel together, eat together and skate together. It's going to be sad when we separate and have to go back to our normal lives after the tour is finished, because you just develop such great relationships.