Figure Skating in Northern Ontario
Jeffery Buttle looks good in Silver, and Wendy Philion sounds good in Russian
Northern Ontario has made it's mark in Russia. Jeffrey Buttle's silver medal performance at the World Figure Skating Championship, in Moscow this year, has put us on the Russian radar.
Jeff was in fourth place after the short-program, behind Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland, who was in first place, Brian Joubert of France in second and reigning champion 23-year-old Evegni Plushenko of Russia in third, but was moved up to third place after Plushenko withdrew with an abductor muscle problem.
During his long program, Jeff fell on his first major jump, a triple axel, and then had another fall later in the program. The gold medal winner Stephane Lambiel , had two quads in his program. Despite the two falls during his free skate, Jeffrey won the silver medal. That says something about the incredible quality of the rest of this program, which included five more triples. His choreography was called "rock solid". Jeff's win is Canada's first World's medal since Elvis Stojko's in France in 2000.
"I think this is a result of the new judging system," Jeff says. "I didn't have the quad, but I made sure that what I did have, I made look really good. My program component scores weren't lower because of the two falls.''
Behind every great man....
A particular highlight of the evening, for me, was hearing the announcers talk about Jeff and his journey to the World's podium. When Jeff was asked who has been that one special influence in his life, Sudbury's own Wendy Philion was the decided choice. Anyone who's read this section for more than 10 minutes has probably picked up on my admiration for Wendy and what she brings to figure skating in the North. I have to admit to a great rush of pride and excitement hearing people in far off Russia tell the entire world about the talent, and great influence on the world of figure skating today, of this wonderful coach.
Jeff says he's heading home for a very short rest and then it's time to start working toward the Olympics. He knows he needs to land that quad to leave a mark on Olympic history. If the love and good wishes of Northern Ontarians is of any help, he's well on his way.
I expect Wendy will be watching.