Elvis Stojko, the featured skater in the Ice Crystal Figure Skating Club’s annual ice show, made quite an impression over the weekend.
“He was amazing,” said Megan Dawe. “Still so full of energy and very entertaining and had a beautiful kindness with all the kids.”
Stojko’s performance Saturday at Kaetlyn Osmond Arena in Marystown was one of five shows he performed with clubs around the province.
The seven-time Canadian men’s figure skating champion said he enjoyed the experience.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I started out with an invitation to Bonavista, and I guess some of the other clubs got wind that I was going to be around. … So I decided to take up the offer then as one club wanted (me so did) another club, another club, another club — so I fit in five clubs.”
Stojko, who was in the St. John’s area to conduct a two-day seminar, said it has been an event-filled trip to the province.
“I started in Placentia, and then Bonavista, then one day off, full-day seminar, Whitbourne on the same day at the end of the seminar, another full-day seminar, here in Marystown, a day off tomorrow and then off to the other side (of the province) —Stephenville. It has been a packed run, but it’s been fun. I enjoyed coming here especially; the people are always so gracious. They don’t get a lot of skating here.”
Stojko said the cost of travelling to the island makes it difficult to bring shows to the province.
“So I figured if I am here, I might as well do a full week and a half of stuff,” he said.
Karen Jones, coach of the Marystown club, said that growing up watching Stojko on TV and then getting to work with him at her home club was a dream come true.
“He was great with the kids, and was very accommodating to us. It was an incredible day,” she said.
Stojko said he encourages anyone who wants to succeed in figure skating to work hard and to always believe in themselves.
“You can put in the time. But if you don’t believe in it, it’s not going to happen, he said.
“Everyone else can doubt you, but all that matters is if you believe. …You have to be the one that believes in your ability.”
Stojko said figure skating remains dominated by female competitors.
“It always will be,” he said. “The guys are still going to go for hockey. It is so different. It is a subjective sport.”
It takes a certain type of personality to get through all the criticism of being a male in figure skating, he said.
“There’s a certain stigma towards it — being able to be expressive, open and skate to music, be expressive as an artist,” Stojko said. “We end up losing a lot of male skaters to that (stigma).”
Stojko said during his time in the sport, he has seen the determination of other male skaters who stick with it.
“They stand, they have personality — that personality gets them through all the criticism and all the naysayers,” he said.
Stojko said that if he could offer any advice to a young boy who wants to get involved in figure skating, it would be to persevere.
“Stand your ground,” he said. “If this is what you really want to do, don’t let anybody stand in your way and detour you from it. I got picked on in school until I was about 15 years old. And then I was in high school — I went to the Junior Canadian Championships. I was on TV for the very first time. Soon as I was on TV, all the criticism stopped and everyone became my best friend.”
Stojko described the early period as a test.
“At that point for me, I knew that’s what I wanted to do — so I didn’t care. I was like ‘Whatever — you guys can do what you want to do and deal with it how you want to deal with it.’ ”