2008 World Champ Jeffrey Buttle of Canada explains his decision to retire last year in the Los Angeles Times. Here is an excerpt:
I started competing at an early age, about 6 years old, and that became my platform for performing. As long as I continue to compete, I will have an audience and an outlet for people to see what I can do or feel on the ice.
I competed for Canada for about 12 years internationally until my win last year in Sweden. Then, I stopped.
I loved representing my country, and especially enjoyed winning competitions for Canada -- and for myself of course. However, I was generally uncomfortably nervous during these competitions.
I remember asking myself why I put myself through this time and time again.
The insight I gained after the world championships was this: I put myself through the nerves and the pressure not because I wanted to win -- though it felt great when I did -- but because I essentially just wanted to perform and to have people watch me. Whether they appreciated what I did or not was entirely up to them, of course.
My title allowed me the opportunity to join the Stars on Ice tour and basically earn a living doing exactly what I've ever wanted to do: perform.
I'm going to go ahead and toot our horn because he said the same thing a couple of weeks back in our Required Elements interview.
Here is some advice that Buttle has for the incoming champion, whoever he may be:
* May he enjoy his time as the reigning men's champion, knowing that for 365 days he may refer to himself as the "king" if he so chooses.
* May he continue with his life in any way he sees fit. If that happens to be at the Vancouver Olympics, then may it not weigh as added pressure on his shoulders, but instead increase his confidence.
* May he be a gracious winner and a good representative of the sport and acknowledge all those who helped him to the top.
* May the journey to this title mean more than the title itself. Dozens of years should mean more than those few seconds on the podium, in my opinion.
* May he be extremely proud of himself and sing his national anthem with a smile on his face.
* May he not actually refer to himself as king. That's just odd!