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Tuesday, January 23
Updated: March 16, 12:41 PM ET
Q & A with Elvis Stojko

ABC Sports

Elvis Stojko
Canadian skater Elvis Stojko has always used his passion and charisma to entertain the crowds.
Canadian figure skater Elvis Stojko, a three-time world and six-time national champion, withdrew from the Canadian Championships with a knee injury that kept him from defending his national title. Stojko, the current world silver medalist, talked with ABC Sports during the ISU season and shared his passion for skating and his battle against injury. An excerpt from the interview follows.

ABC Sports: What was your outlook towards coming back for this upcoming season at the very beginning of the year?

Elvis Stojko: Well, I think the biggest thing going into this season was just taking another step forward from what I had done last year. It's been such a growing period since 1998. It's not like I didn't grow before, but I feel the last three or four years have been quite an experience.

Each year takes me to another level. Last year was quite an experience in terms of what I went through. Eventually I got through at World's, placing second. Then coming through the summer and the spring trying to decide what would I like to do? In the spring, I decided okay, I'm gonna go for next year and the Olympic games. It was quite a big decision, but I knew it in my heart that it was the right one for me because I know I'm still competitive.

I know what I can do and what I'm capable of doing. I just wanted to be happy. I think the biggest thing is just to be happy and content with myself.

ABC Sports: You have accomplished a lot. You have Olympic medals, World medals and National medals. What is it you want to try and prove? Where does all your passion come from?

Stojko: It goes beyond trying to prove anything. I don't have to prove anything to myself or anybody. The biggest thing that I want to do is be able to go through the process of achieving my ultimate capability as an athlete.

Elvis Stojko
Elvis Stojko captured the silver medal at the 2000 World Figure Skating Championships in Nice, France.
I think I'm able to do that. I still have that opportunity and I want to advantage of it now while I still can and reach my potential. It's not a matter of proving it to anybody. I have always felt that it was so shallow to try to prove it to somebody else because you're really not free if you trying to prove something to somebody.

And you're really trying to work on an insecurity about yourself when you need to constantly prove yourself. There's something that you're lacking. Something that you need to fill. A void. I don't think I have a void to fill. I think I've filled everything. I'm very complete as a human being and that's another level that's taken up from going from adolescence to young adult to adult. And also as an athlete. As a mature athlete. It's a very different mind set or mind frame.

So, in that aspect, it's more or less strictly just reaching my potential and beyond the proving stage.

ABC Sports: Do you feel more free every year that you grow?

Stojko: Oh yeah! Oh, yeah! Every year, every year now since 1988 has been a freeing experience. And whether it's been always the turmoil or whatever I've gone through, it's been very difficult the last number of years.

Whether it be injuries or difficult times or whatever, it's more or less growth spurts. It's not physical but mental, spiritual. That causes a lot of hang ups along the way, but the growing has been huge. I feel like I've done more in the last three years than I've done my whole life. It's been quite the experience. I think it's gonna be slowing down a little bit. So in that aspect I'll be able to get a little bit more centered athletically. When you're doing a lot of growing like that, it's very difficult to center yourself. There's always a pro and a con to it when you're totally centered and you're sort of reaching your plateau.

Reaching your plateau is not exactly flattening out, but it is a chance for you to be very consistent and feel good about what you're doing and your progress on this level. But if you're growing as an individual and you're constantly changing, it's very difficult to feel comfortable because you're constantly adapting to the new you all the time, whether it be physical or mental. So you can't be consistent. How can you be because you're changing every single day? You can't get in a rhythm. You can't get in a groove. And that's what it's felt like the last three years. But I feel it starting to slow down and become normal again.

Well, I've done a lot of growing now mentally and physically or spiritually. Now I feel okay, let me get on with some stuff and go to the lighter side of life where I don't have to analyze things so much. I can just enjoy it as I go through it.

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