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Elvis Stojko shares some secrets to success during Pictou County visit

Elvis Stojko talks with some young skaters at the Pictou County Wellness Centre on March 9.
Elvis Stojko talks with some young skaters at the Pictou County Wellness Centre on March 9. - Adam MacInnis

You can search online as much as you like, but you won’t find a shortcut to success at skating. 

“The great thing with sports is you can’t do that," said three-time world champion and two-time Olympic silver medalist Elvis Stojko. “You can Google all you want but you physically have to train it. You can’t shortcut anything.” 

Stojko, who is considered one of the greatest male figure skaters in Canada’s history, tried to impart that and other knowledge as he held training sessions at the Pictou County Wellness Centre on March 9 for young figure skaters from across Nova Scotia, prior to taking part in the Mariposa East Skating Centre ice show on March 10. 

In an age where attention spans are short, Stojko said he tries to teach students about the importance of persistence and hard work. 

The process of learning may have changed, but it still takes practice. 

"The body still needs time to understand and adapt and learn.” 

CONFIDENCE 

One of the biggest character qualities he tries to impart to young skaters is to have confidence. 

“You’ve got to start with confidence even though you won’t be able to do the stuff at the beginning, but you have to have the confidence to know that you’re going to.” 

Confidence then naturally produces a proper posture which is crucial to figure skating. 

Another key characteristic that young athletes need to succeed is a competitive spirit. 

“A lot of kids go in and they’re performing," he said. “They want to perform, and they fail at it because you have to be a warrior, not a performer. You perform as a warrior, but you have to be competitive in order to be the best.” 

INSPIRATION 

For his own part, Stojko tries to draw from all experiences in his life whether it be what he’s learning at martial arts, race car driving, motor cross, acting, or singing. 

“I need to have that balance because I need something to skate about,” he said. “If I was only doing skating it becomes almost incestuous because there is nothing else. You need to have other things in order to keep it vibrant and full of life.” 

STANDING OUT 

If a skater truly wants to stand out, they have to also ensure they don’t cater to the status quo. 

“You have to learn the skill, and you have to train and put the hours in –you can’t get around it All the top in the world do it. But the ones that make it understand themselves. That’s the biggest thing. Know who you are and understand your strengths and weaknesses and work with both of them.” 

Weaknesses aren’t something to be afraid of, he said, but they are something that skaters should strive to use their strength to overpower or balance out. 

"If you are your authentic self, you will always rise to the top and be seen. Because you won’t just fall in line and become just another drone.” 

As someone who has been to the top and accomplished his dream, Stojko says the hours and hard work are well spent. 

“The feeling of getting it is worth it,” he said. 

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