Not just a dream

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:14 PM ET

Once upon a time, it might have seemed like nothing more than the wildest of a child's dreams. But when Jeffrey Buttle steps on the Corel Centre ice tonight as a full-fledged cast member with the HSBC Stars On Ice tour, it will be yet another reminder that it's all very real now.

That the 22-year-old from Smooth Rock Falls has indeed hit the big time in the figure skating world.

"It's very exciting," said Buttle of the chance to skate alongside idols such as Kurt Browning, the four-time world men's champion. "It's something I've always wanted to do."

And he's not done yet. Not with the Turin Olympics 10 months away, and moving clearly into focus.

"I remember thinking about (the Olympics) all the time when I was eight or nine years old," said Buttle. "But it's not really a dream anymore. It's a reality I can make happen now."

Especially since last month, when Buttle claimed the silver medal at the world figure skating championships in Moscow.

"It's a huge deal," Buttle said in explaining what the result means for his Olympic chances. "When I went into worlds, I thought top six was a realistic goal ... that would allow me to get within grasp of an Olympic medal. But now I'm already in medal contention. It gives me a lot of hope for next season."

The Moscow competition was bizarre, to say the least. Defending champion Evgeni Plushenko of Russia showed up injured and eventually withdrew. A relative unknown, Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland, soared to the gold, while the rest of the field stumbled below him.

That included Buttle, who fell twice in his free program, yet wound up with the silver. But he feels no need to apologize for the medal. It glitters like no other he's ever won.

"Sometimes, everyone skates their best and you're not on the podium," said Buttle, who won his first Canadian title in January in London, Ont. "Sometimes, everyone skates not their best and you end up with a silver medal.

"You just take it however you can get it."

Now Buttle gets another reward -- the Stars On Ice tour. He'd originally been scheduled to guest at shows in Toronto and Hamilton, but the world silver led IMG to put him on the full 12-city tour.

Tonight, he'll skate to Ave Maria and Corey Hart's I Wear My Sunglasses at Night. Next January, he'll defend his Canadian title in Ottawa -- one last step on the road to Turin.

Every bit of it as real as can be.

Tickets to tonight's 7:30 show are available by calling 599-3267 or at www.capitaltickets.ca

rob.brodie@ott.sunpub.com


Videos

Photos