Sometimes it pays to have too much time on your hands....LOL...so here it is for those of you who maybe weren't able to see it, and also for the record, once the link becomes inactive:
A: Ummmmm, cause I feel like I want to be back. It's kinda like, for 4 years from 98 to 02,
getting up out of the bed and trying to get to the rink was a chore. And I wanted to make
sure that I would have that drive back and that fire back before I ended my career totally.
And I didn't know if it ever would come back, or when, and it just happened to be this
year, just after Worlds, around Worlds, I thought 'oh maybe it's because I went to Worlds
and commentated, maybe it's because I'm around it'. But I left it for a few weeks, and it
was still there. I'd get up, I'd work out, I'd go to the rink, and I'd be constantly
thinking about it. And then I realized, wait a minute, I wanna do this. This is
something I wanted to feel for like 4 or 5 years, the pre-98 season, and that's what I
feel, I'm ready to go do that now, regardless of age or whatever.
Q: Is it mainly because of the injury situation, that you finally feel that you're
A: Yeah, 98 was an injury that year that should have ended my career, and I was able to
push through it, but pushing myself to that limit and that strain did something to my
drive. I didn't trust it anymore, I didn't wanna be around it, I didn't love skating like
I did before, and I didn't have the vigour and passion for it. I kept it going because I
knew I had to, for myself, and now I've got it back. I wake up every morning, wanting to go
to the rink, wanting to train, wanting to be on top of things. You know, I lost 8 to 10
pounds, I feel much lighter. I just started trying triple axels again, I hadn't done them
in 4 or 5 months. They feel great, they're coming, everything's coming, they're easier,
much easier than before, I've got no injuries, my body's healthy, my mind's healthy, I'm
ready to go.
Q: Mentally wanting to do it is one thing, knowing after this many years you can still
compete at a world level is another. What do you hope to get out of this?
A: Hope to get out of this? Uh, reach my potential, which I'm capable of doing, more than
what I did previous, and that's all I was striving for the last 4 years, but couldn't get
there, because the drive wasn't there, I was constantly battling some injuries, because of
the mental fight. Alot of times injuries don't just come from a physical aspect...alot of
it has to do with an emotional and spiritual thing, that you're at a tug of war, you end up
bringing it upon yourself. And I wanted to be healthy, emotionally healthy, spiritually,
because that is what does it all! I mean, physical is just a small part of what I do, and
what athlete's do, and what we're trying to do out there. If we're happy, we're healthy,
we're passionate about what we do, it's limitless. The limit, it's just sky high.
Q: How did you reach that point though, now you're more emotionally, spiritually healthy,
can you talk about getting to that point?
A: Its....it's complicated... there's a lot of factors involved...I mean, it's a process
from 98 to 02, and through the 03 season. Um, 98, I just didn't feel over top of myself, I
had that injury, I pushed through it, I still had the drive, and I used every ounce of my
drive left, and then I had nothing left. I tried to come back in 99, bring things back, I
got a little bit healthier, but still the leg was lagging. 2000, I didn't have the injury
anymore, but psychologically my body wasn't firing the way it used to. I got a silver medal
that year at Worlds, maybe at 70% of my capability. Then the next year, it was a total
bomb. I couldn't compete at all, because of the injuries that kept lagging me, and they
weren't injuries from overwork, they were constant injuries from small accidents here and
there...weird things were happening. A lot of turmoil was going on. 02, I pushed through,
because that was why I stayed in, to go for it. That was the only thing keeping me
going...I got through it, but still not emotional, still not connected. And then last year,
taking a full year away from it, away from my coach Ushi, away from everybody, just to
skate, and then also doing some things for myself, just some car stuff, seeing my friends,
just getting away from the whole thing...and eventually it started coming back on it's own.
It you let go, it'll come back, but you don't know when or how.
Q: Is there a sense of unfinished business here?
A: Yeah, well everyone keeps asking me about the "Gold Medal" - I mean, its....if that, if
it was only that, I would have went for it more in 02. Because thats what...I had two
silvers, the gold, you know, should have been there, I should have went for it...it's not
that, it's gotta come from within. If it's not from within, forget about it. And I've
shown that to myself, it's coming from within, it's why I'm trying to reach my potential.
If I reach that, yeah, it's possible, and I can definitely achieve that, I have no doubt in
my mind, it's just a matter of training, staying focused, and, uh, the hard work is the
easy part for me. I just, I always push. It's a matter of finding deep down, that drive,
to keep it going, and I don't have to push hard, because it's there.
Q: How about the quad lutz? Do you think you're going to stick with it?
A: I'm definitely going to be working on it. I already talked with my coach Linda about
it, you know, about saving a spot for it in the program. I don't know when it's going to
come out, because we're just starting to get some of the stuff back, the axel, all of the
other triples are there, easy, no problem, and the axel's coming back, the quad toe, the
quad sal we're gonna work on, the lutz, we're gonna work on everything, because that's how
I'm feeling right now, I wanna work on everything, and get everything going. Also, working
with Randy Gardner on the long program, and working with Tracey Robertson, we're gonna be
working on the short program, so I have 2 choreographers working on 2 different programs,
to give sort of a different feel. I'm not "reinventing" Elvis Stojko, but I'm going to
bring out some more stuff that's been sort of dormant there for a little while and we're
going to try to elaborate a little bit more on it.
Q: Are you staying in for the Olympics?
A: Yeah, I think so, my aim is....there's no limit, so I'm going for it, and that's farther
down the line...right now, I'm just getting myself set up, see how I want to structure the
season, talk to Skate Canada, see which internationals we're gonna choose, and then go from
Q: Can you talk about why you made the coaching change?
A: One is I felt I needed a change, and two, Ushi right now, she's working, she's part
owner at that arena, there's 4 arena's, there's 4 pad complex, and she spent a lot of time
away, and they need her there, and she also said, you know, I don't know if I'm going to be
ready to commit to that type of commitment to you. And I said 'well thats fine'...it's
kind of a situation where we parted ways evenly, we each needed to go our separate
routes, so it ended up being a nice thing for us. We still talk and everything is fine.
Q: So how did you decide on Linda?
A: When I was skating the last number of years, coming to Richmond Hill to train, Linda and
I used to talk a lot, she used to pick my brain on stuff, working with Kenny Rose, who's
the last year's Junior Champion, and we used to talk about how we can help Kenny, and what
would be good, and what I've gone through, and all that, and through that process I got to
know more about Linda, what her mind set is, and how she approaches skating, very
professional, there's no bullcrap when it comes down to training, and it doesn't matter who
you are, World Champion or Junior Champion or Novice Champion, it's the same everywhere.
And she just has a very open mind, and very supportive...and that's what I need. And it
ended up being that way, and someone that I feel I can trust, and that's the most important
for me, and technique, it's all the same, I mean we talk about the same technique, we're
just talking the same things out, and another set of eyes, that are very keen, very
skilled, to see what needs to be changed, what needs to be adjusted, and she has that, and
that's why I think it's a perfect combination.
Q: Whats the response been like, from other competitors, international skaters?
A: Well, I haven't really talked to anybody in particular, at that level. I know that the
friends that I have talked to have all congratulated me, I'm getting like 20 calls a day,
just saying 'hey, we're glad you're back, we really miss you, and we think you can do it,
and this is great for you'...cause they, the people that know me, know that I wasn't myself
for the last 4 years, that I was either just low, or depressed, or not on top of things,
emotionally not connected....physically is a different situation, injuries come from
within, you know, you draw your own negativity. And unfortunately that happens, and I got
through that, and I'm just ready to move on, I'm ready to do my thing.
Q: So when you talked so much about being at peace in Salt Lake City, was that just words
at the time, or was that just how you were actually feeling?
A: No, actually, I was honest at the time, I mean, to come to grips with what I was
dealing with. At the time, I came back, and said, you know, I'm done. I didn't know if I
was going to be done for now, but I was done. And I was thinking ahead, well, maybe I
should look beyond. So I did, I totally let go of skating completely, absolutely, I just
did shows, and had no intention of coming back. Interestingly enough, as I got closer, I
went to Worlds, even before Worlds, I was going to go to Worlds and commentate, and I
didn't get excited for the first few days, I just sort of watched it. And then, for some
reason I got a different outlook. And my mom, it was funny, cause my mom was there, and a
lot of people were coming up to her and asking when I was skating, and she said I wasn't
skating, and people were, you know, wishing I was out there, and had a lot of positive
feedback, and I talked my mom, and I said 'I had this weird notion of coming back for some
reason, I don't know why'. And she goes 'I know'. And I said 'how'd you know that?' And
she said 'I've just known you're not done yet'. And interestingly enough, my mom kind of,
she knows me really well, she knows that eventually, when I was ready, I'd come back, cause
I was not finished yet.
Q: Athletes, world champion athletes like yourself, have come back after retirement, and it
jut wasn't there. Sometimes it can almost be embarrassing for that athlete. Do you worry
at all yourself about ever being in that position?
A: Alot of times when an athlete comes back, they come back for external reasons. A gold
medal, winning a championship, getting the accolades, being in front of the media, in front
of the press, that's what spurs them on. However, it's not enough. To be at this level,
it's not enough. It's gotta be for you, you gotta have the right reasons to do it, you've
gotta be able to get up in the morning every day, get yourself ready, be driven to go for
it, and that's what gets you there...there are a few that have done it, but that's the only
way you're going to do it. If you do it for the wrong reasons, forget it, it's not gonna
happen. Plus, too, I've only been out for a year, so it's much different than retiring for
5 years. I was thinking about not coming back this year, about coming back in 05, but it's
too long away from competition. That's why this fall I'd like to do a number of
internationals, get my feet wet again, just to get the feel, and then go out and do it.
So, I'm not afraid, I had that part of my career already, that's not ever gonna change,
and, uh, no matter what I do now, it's all icing on the cake for me. I'm just glad I can
be part of this and feel good about my skating.