At the 1991 World Championships, Stojko became the first person to land a quadruple-double jump combination. He later said he had studied VHS tapes of Kurt Browning, Brian Boitano, Alexander Fadeyev, and Jozef Sabovčík to help him master the quad.
At the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, he finished 7th despite skating a technically strong routine, but a month later he made his first appearance on a major international podium when he placed third at the 1992 World Figure Skating Championships behind winner Viktor Petrenko and Kurt Browning. In 1993 at the World Figure Skating Championships he finished second, once again behind Kurt Browning.
Stojko made his mark on the figure skating world in 1994, beginning with the Canadian National Championships in Edmonton. Skating to the soundtrack of “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story,” he defeated Kurt Browning in the free skate to win his first Canadian National Championship. At the 1994 Winter Olympics at the Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre, he skated well enough in the short program to place second, putting him in good position heading into the free skate, after three of the pre-Olympic favourites (Brian Boitano, Viktor Petrenko & Kurt Browning) had disappointing short programs. Stojko had a strong performance in the free skate, despite popping a planned triple axel combination (which he later replaced by doing another triple Axel combination spontaneously) and won the silver medal. Stojko entered the 1994 World Championships in Chiba, Japan, as the favourite and won his first world championship with a performance that included another quadruple jump.
Stojko suffered a serious ankle injury during practice for the Canadian Championships in 1995, but was determined to compete anyway. He began his short program but was not able to complete it due to the injury, and was awarded a bye to the 1995 World Championships. His 1995 World Championship skate is regarded as one of his most impressive competitive outings because he completed his full routine despite his still-unhealed injury. Although in second place after the short program behind American Todd Eldredge, Stojko won the free skate – and his second world championship – with a performance that included a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination in the closing seconds of his program.
At the 1996 World Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Stojko fell on his triple axel combo jump, leaving him in seventh place after the short program. In the free program, he included a quadruple jump combination (the only one in the competition) and moved him all the way up to fourth, just off the podium behind American Rudy Galindo, who won the bronze. His quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop was the first ever performed by a skater in a major competition.
Stojko won the 1997 Grand Prix Final in Hamilton, Ontario, skating to the movie soundtrack of “Dragon Heart”. Two other skaters also landed quad jumps during the free skate (Ilia Kulik & Alexei Urmanov), but not in combination as Stojko did. At the World Championships later that year, he again had a strong short program and placed fourth going into the free. Approximately halfway through the free skate, Alexei Urmanov, leader after the short program, withdrew from the event with an injury, while Ilia Kulik, in third, had a performance that put him out of contention. Stojko then took the ice and landed his quad-triple combination to earn two perfect scores of 6.0 and another world title.
Stojko entered the 1998 Winter Olympic games in Nagano, Japan as the heavy favourite and was expected to become the first Canadian man to win an Olympic gold medal. He did not disclose to the media that he had suffered a groin injury and was also recovering from a flu that had struck many other athletes during the Games. He was unable to take painkillers due to the possibility of failing his drug test. He later stated in an interview that he was already feeling stiff and sore during the warm-up prior to the long program, and therefore downgraded his planned quadruple toe loop to a triple, likely costing him a chance at gold. Later in the program, on the landing of a triple Axel, Stojko aggravated the injury even further, saying he “felt something snap.” He still managed to successfully complete four more triples after that point, and won the silver medal.
Stojko finished fourth in the 1999 World Championships. After the 1998–99 season, Stojko changed coaches from Doug Leigh to Uschi Keszler and Tim Wood. He won silver at the 2000 World Championships. At the Salt Lake Winter Olympics in 2002, he placed eighth. He turned professional in 2002 but briefly reinstated as an Olympic-eligible skater and publicly declared his intention to compete in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, before changing his mind and resuming his professional skating career.
Stojko was a commentator for CTV/TSN for the men’s event at the 2003 World Figure Skating Championships in Washington, D.C. In 2006, he was a celebrity judge on the WE tv series Skating’s Next Star, created and produced by Major League Figure Skating. The show was hosted by Kristi Yamaguchi.
Stojko retired from skating on August 10, 2006 with his farewell performance being a gala performance for the Mariposa skating club, where he trained most of his amateur career. He took part in ISF Entertainment’s acrobatic ice show, “A Rock & Roll Fantasy”, in the July 2010 Calgary Stampede.
Stojko provided commentary and analysis for Yahoo! Sports during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. He wrote an article criticizing the judging system during the 2010 Olympics, saying that it did not reward athletes for undertaking quadruple jumps.
Article written by CanadianKartingNews.com
It has been a busy summer here at the CKN Headquarters, but our CKN Chatter series is back. We kick off our summer session with Canadian and World Champion Figure Skater Elvis Stojko as now seeks a new type of World Championship…Go-Karting. Stojko got hooked on the sport only two years ago and is now full-throttle taking in almost any competition he can. Taking time out of his busy schedule, we caught up with him for a few questions.
Name: Elvis Stojko
Hometown: Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Years Racing: 3
Chassis Raced (to date): Maranello
Favourite Track: Valle De Bravo, Mont Tremblant
Racing Idols: Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Jeremy McGrath, Rick Johnston,
Supporters: My Wife Gladys, Best Friend and Kung Fu Instructor Glen Doyle, Kenneth O’Keefe my mechanic, Team Maranello with team owner and tuner Trevor Wickens, Alan Saks with Enagic/Kangen water, my Strength and Conditioning Coach Steven J. Wong, John Koveos @ Quantum Nutrition, Darren Doner @ Doner Nissan, Patrice Harvey at Smart Race Paint, and finally Emzone Automotive Products.
Accomplishments: Figure Skating: 3X world champ, 7X national champ, 2x Olympic Silver, 2 world records. Recipient of the Meritorious Service Decoration and Meritorious Service Cross. Martial Arts: 2005 WKA Kung Fu Champ and World Silver Medallist. Karting: Being taken seriously now…more to come.
Elvis Stojko is a World Champion figure skater who now races full-time in go-karts across North America (Photo by: Cody Schindel/CKN)
To start, how did you get involved in karting after many years of professional figure skating?
I got my first dirt bike when I was 7 and always loved motor sports from that point on. Back in the mid 90’s I used to go and do lap days with my Porsche and fell in love with the feeling. After that I knew I wanted to race cars when I was done skating. It took me a while to get things going since I was touring around the world so much, but just under 2 years ago I found a kart track through a friend of mine in Guadalajara and knew that would be the place for me to start.
From a competition standpoint, are there any comparisons between karting and figure skating?
Both being an individual sport you need to have strong focus. In skating a mistake can happen so quickly by losing that focus and the same is for karting.
Both sports are very physically demanding, what affects has karting had on your body, and has your training regimen changed at all?
From all my years of dirt biking and martial arts I have good tendon strength and endurance in the hands, forearms next and shoulders. Skating also gave my good core strength and balance, and of course my legs and calves. The only real area that was weak were the ribs. I was injured constantly because I did so much lapping right away and did not build up to it. I lost count on how many times I dislocated ribs on both sides, but eventually they got stronger. I added some exercises for the intercostal muscles, stomach and lower back.
What is your most memorable karting moment?
This past March I raced in Valle De Bravo just outside Mexico In SKUSA Mexico race. I had never been on that track and had two days to test. After the first day my chassis broke in 3 places right along the cross bar under the seat. I thought for sure I was done for the weekend, but one mechanic buddy from my track welded it and out I went the next day. I qualified 3rd and finished 3rd overall in the final heat out of 16 or 18 racers with some of the best in Mexico. I had a blast racing that weekend and I made the kart work the best I could with my old beat up chassis.
First trophy ever won? Do you still have it?
I was 6 or 7 years old in my first competition ever and during that time there were not many boy figure skaters at our club, so they lumped me with another boy in with all the girls. There had to be over 20. Since they thought a boy would never win the competition they had a trophy with a little girl figurine on it. Well I ended up winning and sure enough I got the little girl trophy. I still have it.
Stojko started out in the Rotax Senior division, but now competes competitively in the Rotax DD2 Masters class (Photo by: Cody Schindel/CKN)
What is your favourite thing about racing?
No freaking judges!
Who is your favourite person to race against and why?
Stuart Clark… I have not caught him yet. He pushes me. Most of the guys in our DD2 Masters class are great, but Stuart has helped me out and shared a lot his experiences with me since the beginning and he knows I share the same passion for racing. He has had a lot of respect for me even when I was making a ton of rookie mistakes and looking so “green” on the track. You are only as good as your competition and we push each other. He is a great driver but more important to me is that he is a great person.
What races do you plan on competing in this year in Canada?
All the ECKC rounds and the Nationals.
Do you have any major goals for your 2013 karting season?
Top 3 in the ECKC and top 3 at Nationals
If there is someone from another generation you could race against, who would it be and why?
I didn’t know too much about past drivers and only in the last while have I spent more time learning more about them. Not just about how many races they won, but who they were. Ayrton Senna reminds me of a part of myself during my skating career. Skating was not just skating, but a way to understand myself through pushing my limits. To this day I still wish to push my limits and I am constantly learning. Putting all of what I have learned from before into racing has been a great learning experience. To be able to have raced with Ayrton would be more about seeing our similarities which would help in learning about oneself. He always thought about being a better human being and essentially that is the true path of our spiritual development.
Racing with Praga Racing Ontario, Stojko works very closely with team manager Darryl Timmers as he focus’s on being the best in his division (Photo by: Cody Schindel/CKN)
When you look at karting from a fan/spectator point of view, what do you see?
I see the intensity, excitement, anxiety of everyone pushing towards their own personal goals.
What is your current perspective on Canadian Karting and how do you think we could improve it?
Most people that are not involved in karting have a visual of the rental karts or its more for the kids. To be able to get the image of karting as the true stepping stone towards high end auto racing would be great. Though only being involved for a short period of time its tough for me to comment on how to improve. All I know is I hope I can bring more exposure to the sport and help it move forward.
If you could win one race, and only one race, then retire, what would it be and why?
This is tough because I love the journey of learning about this sport. I would need more time in the sport before I could answer this one.
What is something karting people don’t know about you?
For sure I loved skating and the drive to be the best made me push… but deep down my real passion has always been in motor sports. Dirt biking, quading, jet skiing, snowmobiling…. anything with a motor which was fast I was on it. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity to pursue my real passion and I will reach my goals…. but those personal goals are only for me to know.
Elvis made his professional acting debut as smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn in an upcoming production of Chicago, the Musical.
Mirvish Productions mounted the musical as part of its 50th anniversary season.
“People think of me as only a skater. What they don’t know is that I love musicals,” the Newmarket, Ont., native said in a statement.
“Now I finally have the chance to play a great role in one of the greatest musicals of all time. I’m very excited.”
Stojko has chosen a daunting role to launch his stage career. The part has previously been tackled by veteran performers including Billy Ray Cyrus, Alan Thicke and Tom Wopat — as well as by Richard Gere in the 2002 Oscar-winning film.
The skating champion was not at Tuesday’s packed announcement at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.
Chicago cast veterans Bianca Marroquin and Tony-nominated Brenda Braxton were said they were excited to see Stojko’s turn in the show.
“I think he’s going to bring new things to the show,” said Marroquin, who’s been performing in Chicago on-and-off since 2001, most recently as Roxie Hart in the Broadway production.
“Sometimes they’ll bring just actors that can sort of hold a tune or good movers, and then sometimes they’ll bring amazing dancers. Like in our time, Patrick Swayze was Billy and he brought a lot of dancing to the role. Usher brought a love of suaveness and his singing.
“So I’m sure (Stojko) is going to bring his own moves and a little bit of skating style in there. So that’s great.”
Braxton, who has been performing in Chicago for a decade and recently played Velma Kelly in the California Music Circus production, said her advice to Stojko is “to enjoy yourself.”
“Have fun, don’t take yourself too seriously, because sometimes they get caught up in, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do this, I have to do this.’ It’s such a fun show, he’s going to have a hoot, and anyone who comes here from our company, he’s going to love.”
Audiences can see Stojko’s incarnation when Chicago opens at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre next March.
The three-time world figure skating champion has some show business experience — he doubled for Robin Williams in the 2002 film Death To Smoochy, for which he also did choreography, and he portrayed a hockey player in the 2000 TV movie Ice Angel. He’s also released an album.
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