Former Olympian Elvis Stojko speaks to members of the Beaconsfield Figure Skating Club on Monday morning. Chronicle, Nav Pall
Members of the Beaconsfield Figure Skating Club and some others in the area were given a real treat over the last two days as Canadian world skating champion Elvis Stojko coached a two-day seminar full of quads, toe loops, flips, and general good times.
"I can connect with many kids," the skater told The Chronicle during a small break between coaching sessions as he sat down inside one of the Beaconsfield Recreation Centre's locker rooms.
Stojko said he gets a certain satisfaction out of teaching and talking to enthusiastic youth who are into the world of figure-skating.
That enthusiasm could be seen a little bit later on the ice, as an excited group of youth gathered around him while he demonstrated some of his moves and gave them instructions. "When he talks about skating, his energy and enthusiasm, it just flows," said the figure skating club's president Irene Bohinc of Stojko.
Her colleague, vice-president Carole Maisonneuve added the club worked very hard to get Stojko to come once they learned they had the chance. "We've been working on it since April," she said.
With one of the trainers at the skating club being a friend of Stojko's trainer and collaborator Roselle Soussana, the club found out the pair would be travelling to Montreal. "We jumped all over it," Bohinc said.
Stojko had a lot of praise for Soussana. "I've been working with her since '03-'04," he said, adding her positive attitude toward choreography, movement and motion makes her a pleasure to work with. "Some kids are shy," he explained, and it is a little bit more difficult to get them to open up to the routines he and Soussana bring to the rink. "You want to make them confident with themselves," admit Stojko.
He admit the sport seems to be experiencing a lull in terms of its popularity. He said he has noticed crowds feeling alienated, as competitions increasingly disallow originality in routines in favour of standard skating. "It all looks generic," he said.
Tellingly, Stojko barely stopped between his two different groups on Monday morning. "No, I'm not tired," he said, rising from the bench in the locker room. "I'll just have a little snack and I'll be all right," he added, before going back to the rink.
The seminar went on for two days at the Beaconsfield Recreational Centre, ending yesterday night with a motivational talk and autograph session.
Those interested in the Beaconsfield Skating Club can register on Sept. 14 in person from 2 to 4 p.m. Head to www.beaconsfieldfsc.ca for more information.