July 14th, 2024

Elvis Stojko hosting Stars on Ice


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 5, 2023.

Seven-time Canadian champion Elvis Stojko will be part of the Stars on Ice Holiday tour coming to the Enmax Centre on Dec. 19. Photo by Danielle Earl

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Elvis Stojko won Canadians hearts and three world mens singles skating championships in his career.

And now the seven-time Canadian champion is lacing up the skates again as part of the Stars on Ice special holiday performance that hits the Enmax Centre on Dec. 19.

Stojko is the host of the Stars on Ice Holiday tour which hits the ice at 7 p.m. on show night.

The cast of the show features outstanding Canadian and international skaters including three-time Canadian dance champions and three-time world medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje; Olympic silver medalists, world champions and two-time and reigning U.S. pair champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier; two-time reigning Canadian champion and Olympian Keegan Messing; two-time world medalist and four-time Japanese champion Satoko Miyahara; three-time Canadian pair champions and Olympians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro; U.S. champion Mariah Bell; and Canadian junior champion Elladj Baldé.

Weaver performs double duty on the tour, serving also as show choreographer for the first time.

“We’re happy to be back out skating again this year on another tour,” said Stojko recently in a phone interview.

The tour started on December 2.

“Everyone has their own numbers, their own stuff that they’re bringing to the show. Building the group number takes a bit of time,” said Stojko, adding that Weaver worked for a few months on the project, bouncing ideas off Stojko on the show’s direction.

The troupe had technically two days to put the show together before it hit the highway. The show started in Nova Scotia and is heading west.

“The smaller venues are always really nice because in the spring tour be do the big venues but the smaller ones are more intimate with the Christmas feel. Christmas and skating and ice and all that good stuff is all connected,” said Stojko.

Stojko said the smaller arenas give people who might not otherwise hit a show in a bigger centre to see up close and personal the skaters.

“Skating is such a Canadian thing, whether you start skating to become a hockey player or figure skater or short track or long-track speed skating, skating is always part of it, just even for recreation. You get that connection during the holiday season.”

He’s looking forward to his return to Lethbridge.

“The people are wonderful. It’s going to be really nice to come to Lethbridge – it’s been a little while since I’ve been there.”

More than two decades after he was in the spotlight at the Winter Olympics, for Stojko while his competitive instinct still thrives, he now channels that into racing cars.

“I’m focused on the racing for that aspect and then of course, the skating is part of the art and performance aspects,” he says.

He recently raced the F1 track at Spa in Belgium in a prototype car.

Stojko has raced GT cars for the last couple of years and did go-karts on the international scene before doing testing for carmakers such as Audi. He races an Audi A5 in the GT endurance class and he’s done Formula 1600 testing, as well.

He has also tested an 800-kilogram, carbon-fibre downforce car that has a top speed in excess of 270 mph. And he’s focused on racing the prototype challenge in Canada next year.

“After skating, I’d like to get into that on a full-time basis.”

Stojko has been involved in motorsports since he was seven years old when he started riding dirt bikes.

He rode side-by-side ATVs and jet-skis growing up but dirt bikes were his passion. When he lived in Mexico for several years after his competitive skating career ended, he started doing go-karts and raced there, in the U.S. and Canada. He raced five or six different classes, he said.

And in the 1990s, while skating he’d take courses for performance driving licences.

“I worked on all the skill sets back then and then also throughout the 2000s. It’s something that I’ve been kind of building,” noted Stojko.

A lot of people didn’t realize his motorsports interest which he says has always been in his blood.

Stojko also has a long history of involvement in the martial arts which played a role in his skating routines, as well.

When he worked with his choreographer, Stojko’s routines weren’t “about the garnish on the outside. It had to come from within. Everything has to come from inside you and that is something that sometimes takes time to flourish, to showcase on the outside. As you open up as an artist, it takes time to have that confidence to showcase who you are,” said Stojko.

“For me, I had that vision of who I was and basically people saw me grow up in front of the camera. I started on the international stage at 16, 17 years old. When you grow up in front of millions of people, it’s daunting. But the thing for me was to be myself and I just wasn’t a typical figure skater. I was into other things and my personality and style were very different.”

Stojko says his style reflected who he was.

“I took a lot of hits along the way but what I did was carve out an image for myself that people can remember and I wanted to showcase that with kids – be who you are and don’t be afraid to do that,” he added.

He recalls being known as the bad boy of skating but says he didn’t set out to ruffle feathers in the sport.

“I had to be true to myself when I skated.”

When he trained for skating, Stojko didn’t race but he still rode his bike every day as part of that training because like skating it was a physical demanding sport.

“There’s a lot of similarities – the back, the knees, the hips, the thighs, the legs. It was very similar in that aspect, balance…and of course it’s different in other aspects because you have a vehicle underneath you.”

To Stojko, cross-training means doing two different sports to improve in one or the other.

It was literally, to him, doing dirt-biking, not weights at the gym to improve his skating skills.

“You study it, you train it and you work on it – for me, that’s cross training.”

And for him, that meant he could do the quad jumps before everyone else because he had the martial arts behind him as well as the motorcycle riding.

Stojko was the first man to land a quadruple jump in combination and a quadruple/triple jump combination.

“It was the whole thing that made me who I am. And the style of my skating was unique because of the things that I did and who I am as a person,” Stojko added.

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