Elvis Stojko will be performing with Stars on Ice in Victoria on May 16. Julie Larochelle Briere photo.

Elvis Stojko will be performing with Stars on Ice in Victoria on May 16. Julie Larochelle Briere photo.

Skating fans embrace Elvis Stojko’s return

Stars on Ice glides into Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre May 16.

It took some time for word to spread that Elvis was back in town.

Following a 12 year hiatus to Mexico, Elvis Stojko returned to his hometown of Richmond Hill, Ontario in 2014, creating an excitement on the streets whenever he ventured outside.

With three world figure skating championships under his belt, two Olympic silver medals and seven Canadian titles, the now 45-year-old is one of Canada’s most celebrated athletes, known for his warrior attitude during competition. But he doesn’t just want to be known as Elvis the figure skater anymore.

“People see me as that’s who I am, but I look at it as it’s a thing I do. I do many things,” said Stojko, who’s also an actor, working on made for TV movies, played smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn in a production of Chicago, the Musical, released an album, became a professional Go-Kart racer and won world medals in kung fu.

“I love performing and that for me is in my blood. Whether I’m skating or on stage or on camera, it’s still performance centred and I love doing that.”

Leading up to the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, where Stojko skated with a groin injury that tested his mindset, he knew he’d need some time to unwind once the grind of competition was over. He purchased a home in Ajijic, an area just south of Guadalajara, where he’d visited friends on numerous occasions, but continued to compete until 2002, picking up another medal — this time silver — at the world championships.

Life after the Olympics is a time Stojko describes as crazy. He lived out of a suitcase for nine to 10 months of the year and a deep depression was settling in. Seeking a desperate need for some anonymity and soul searching, Stojko packed his bags and moved to Mexico.

“I needed to find my identity away from the rink and away from skating,” said Stojko, who still skated from time to time at the one rink in Guadalajara, but stopped for a while and became a hermit.

With a focus on martial arts and his many hobbies, however, eventually the fog lifted and Stojko settled into his own skin.

By 2009, Stojko was intrigued about coming back to Canada and started doing some teaching, taking one skater to a few international competitions. He also started doing different corporate events, public speaking and seminars for developing skaters. The growing list of opportunities eventually pulled him back home, along with his wife Gladys Orozco, a Mexican figure skater.

Since returning to Canada, Stojko has joined the cast of Stars on Ice, which is coming to the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria May 16 and includes a long list of Olympic and world champions such as Kurt Browning, Patrick Chan, Jeffrey Buttle, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

The response from fans at the shows has been overwhelming, noted Stojko, with a huge ovation at every appearance. And even though skating is now just one aspect of his hectic life, the rink will always be his second home.

“I love car racing just as much as I love skating and dirt biking. I love kung fu and acting just as much as skating. I had to pick one when I was a kid and skating took precedence at the time,” said Stojko, who’s entire life revolved around skating since the age of four.

“It makes it tough to break that mold — this image of skating. It just takes a bit to change the public perception of what people see me as.”

For more information about Stars on Ice visit starsonice.ca.