Hall honour caps Stojko's career

DEAN MCNULTY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

Three-time men's world figure skating champion Elvis Stojko didn't think it right that at just 34 years old he was going into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

But after a few days to think it over, Stojko came to the realization that the honour came exactly at the right time.

"I had decided this past spring to retire completely from skating," he said yesterday at the Royal York Hotel, where the induction ceremony took place.

"I hadn't told anybody (about retiring) so when I got the call from the Hall in August, I thought, 'it was the right time,' " he said.

Stojko was asked if he had any regrets regarding his skating career.

"I can honestly say that I don't," he said. "Oh, sure, I would have liked to win an Olympic gold medal, but do I regret it? No."

He said he looks back on his three world titles and two Olympic silver medals and what he brought to figure skating and he feels satisfied.

"I gave 100% in every competition I was in," Stojko said. "It was the same whether it was a regional competition or an Olympic event."

He said he is most proud of the fact that he brought a level of athleticism to the sport that had not been there.

"People ask me what I think my greatest achievement was; whether it was the medals, the Olympics," Stojko said. "But for me it was not changing who I was. I went through such a difficult time growing up with the criticism of not being the stereotypical skater."

Prior to his arrival on the international scene, it was all about artistry and costumes.

"The way (skating) was being approached then was all lyrical but I stuck by what I was doing and now people remember me for doing that," he said.

Stojko said he is content with his decision to retire, even though there was a tug from him to stay until the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. But in the end he knew it was over.

"I thought about retiring after the '98 Olympics," he said. "And in retrospect, I am glad I didn't. But my decision to quit (competitions) after the 2002 Games was the right move."

Honoured along with Stojko last night were late golfing great Moe Norman; wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen; squash champion Jonathon Power; women's Olympic rowing coach Al Morrow; synchronized swimming coach Julie Sauve and equestrian legends Ron and Margaret Southern.


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