Buttle enjoys break

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

Call it a working holiday for Jeff Buttle.

The Canadian figure skating superstar is currently in the midst of his first HSBC Stars on Ice Canadian tour and the Olympic bronze medallist is enjoying the break from the cut-throat competition of amateur skating.

"It's a nice to be competing and knowing I can have some fun on the tour," said the 23-year-old from Smooth Rock Falls, Ont., in a telephone interview before last night's show in Edmonton, where playoff hockey is alive and well.

But Buttle, who will be in Calgary for tonight's Stars on Ice show (Saddledome, 7:30 p.m.), isn't about to take his skating gig to the pro level on a full-time basis.

"I want to go as long as I can go in amateur skating but definitely touring is a reward for working hard as an amateur skater," said Buttle.

Suffice it to say Buttle, the two-time defending Canadian champ, doesn't have the best memories from his time spent in Calgary in March at the world championships.

Buttle, the 2005 world champ, finished a disappointing sixth in the men's event, which was won by Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel.

"The circumstances are certainly a lot more in my favour this time," noted Buttle.

"I enjoy doing shows and I'm looking forward to skating there again. The last time I was there wasn't ideal."

But Buttle took time to reflect after worlds and his showing in Calgary wasn't about to put a damper on his accomplishments.

"I was able to take a step back after that competition and put the whole year in perspective and it was a good one," he said.

Figure skating is one of the few winter sports that holds a world championship competition in the same season as an Olympics -- nevermind after the Winter Games -- and Buttle found it draining.

"I absolutely wasn't prepared for that. I think it's because I was so focused on the Olympics that afterwards, it was hard to get back into that competition zone," Buttle said.


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