Stojko, Elvis


Stojko, Elvis
▪ 1998

      In the countdown to the 1998 Winter Olympics, many eyes were on Canada's latest superjumping ice skater, Elvis Stojko. At the 1997 Champions Series Final, he put his name in the record books by landing the first quadruple toe-triple toe loop combination in competition. His repeat of that feat at the world championships helped him add the 1997 world title to his list of accomplishments, which already included winning gold medals at the 1994 and '95 world championships and a silver at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Nor. Although this would seem to give him an edge on his rivals for Olympic gold, Stojko knew that his competitors were formidable, and he was taking nothing for granted. Nonetheless, he was hoping to become the first Canadian man to capture that prize.

      Stojko was born on March 22, 1972, in Newmarket, Ont., and by the time he was two and a half, he knew he wanted to skate. By 1986 he had come in third in the Canadian novice national championships; two years later he was Canadian junior national champion; and in 1990 he finished ninth in the world championships. His improvement in the standings continued the following year with a second-place finish at the Canadian nationals and a sixth at the world championships, where he made history for the first time by landing a quadruple toe-double toe loop combination. He was seventh at his Olympic debut in 1992 but followed that with a bronze medal at the '92 world championships the following month and a silver at the world meet the next year. His 1994 Olympic silver medal and '94 and '95 world golds made him a favourite for capturing Olympic gold in 1998, but a fall on the triple axel of a required jump combination at the 1996 world championships left him in only seventh place after the short program. Stojko rose to the challenge, however, skated a powerful long program, and moved up to fourth place on the strength of a quadruple toe combination and a triple axel-triple toe loop combination, missing the bronze medal by only a narrow margin. In taking back the world crown in 1997, he became one of a very small number of skaters to regain a world championship after having missed medaling the year before.

      When he was not competing, Stojko performed with the Tour of World Figure Skating Champions and with his own tour. He also enjoyed such recreational activities as motorcycle riding, dirt biking, and snowmobiling, and he had gained a black belt in karate. Stojko was Canadian Male Athlete of the Year in 1994, and in 1996 he was honoured with the Governor-General's Meritorious Service Medal. In late 1997 his first book, Heart and Soul: Elvis Stojko in His Own Words, was published.

BARBARA WHITNEY

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Universalium. 2010.

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