February 18, 2006
Success looks good on Buttle
By KATHY RUMLESKI, FREE PRESS OLYMPICS REPORTER
Olympic bronze medallist Jeffrey Buttle walked into a party in his honour at Canada House last night with blue eyes shining, white, white teeth flashing and his medal sparkling.
His family and friends in a row, waiting with cameras ready to catch the moment when he walked through the 18th-century doors at Palazzo Cavour, didn't even need their flashes.
Canada's new figure skating star wears success well.
The former Londoner -- who is also being claimed by Timmins, Sudbury, Barrie, Smooth Rock Falls and Kapuskasing as he lived in each -- is an "aw, shucks' kind of guy.
Sincere, appreciative, even a bit sugary, Buttle is never cocky. Never says the wrong thing. He even laughs nice.
The 23-year-old inspires giddiness in others.
"I could just put you on a cracker," one woman at the party said to him.
An unexpected medallist, Buttle rose from sixth place after the short program on Tuesday to win the bronze Thursday night with his free skate to Samson and Delilah.
Buttle fell on a quadruple jump, but so did many others.
"With the new system, the credit I got for the attempt was worth more than if I had done a double axel instead. It was definitely worth the risk," Buttle said, a glass of champagne in hand as he revisited his program.
"My technique is always something I'm trying to improve. My artistry excels over my technique."
Canadian Olympic Committee president Michael Chambers called Buttle courageous for performing in front of the world.
Buttle said he felt "uninhibited" by the 6,095 at the Palavela and an estimated two billion more watching on TV.
"I put it all on the line. I seized the moment and I think that had an effect."
Mom Lesley Buttle said her son first skated at 18 months.
"He loved it from the very first day. All of the other kids were crying and wanting off (the ice) and mine was crying because he had to come off," she said.
His first competition was in St. Thomas when he was six.
"We always envisioned him playing hockey. He dabbled in hockey, but it certainly wasn't his first love, ever. The (figure skating bug) hit Jeffrey in London" when he was skating with the Forest City club, Lesley said.
"Oh, they'll be loving it (his success) in London," she said.
The skating mom who went the distance said it's simply a relief to her that Jeffrey's Olympic debut is over and it turned out so well.
"Now I can enjoy the rest of the Games. An Olympic medal is not just a medal."
The good-looking, polite kid with the wholesomeness to add to the package said he hasn't received any calls with endorsement offers.