Jeffrey Buttle has not stopped smiling since he announced his retirement last September. It is obvious that the 26-year-old, who is currently on the Canadian Stars on Ice tour, could not be happier.
“Performing is what I love most about figure skating. I love it,” he replied when asked how he was enjoying the professional circuit.
Though his retreat from the amateur scene came as a surprise Buttle said he has not regretted the decision for one minute.
So many things have changed in the life of the 2008 World Champion in the past eight months.
“Now I can make plans with friends and actually keep them, whether it be for a night out or a vacation or meeting my friends for brunch,” Buttle said. “That is the thing, I really neglected – my friends – when I was training, but they understood. So now I actually get to spend time with them.”
Going out on New Years Eve in 2008 was something Buttle rarely did during his amateur days. More often than not he spent those evenings with his parents, heading to bed before midnight.
“Last year I went to a loft party in Toronto and had champagne which was something I really did not do when I was training,” he said. “It was awesome.”
When asked if he had any twinges about not competing at the upcoming 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Buttle laughed. “No, no twinges and I don’t anticipate any. I get excited when I see things about the Olympics. I am a Canadian and I am proud that it is going to be here. But I had my experience and I would not change my [current] career for anything.”
Nonetheless, Buttle wants to attend the Olympics in some capacity. “I am hoping to attend either as a broadcaster, with the media or in a support role for Skate Canada,” he said
Reflecting on his amateur career, Buttle said there were so many defining moments for him personally.
“My first short program at my first World Championships in Nagano in 2002. That was a really special time,” he said. “Winning my first Canadian title with a fantastic long program was also a memorable moment. There are just so many.”
Buttle said one of his finest recollections was his long program at nationals in 2008. “That was great to come back after recovering from that injury,” he said. “I knew I was a little bit out of shape but I still pushed through it and it was a mental challenge.
“And everything about the Olympics – the good, the bad, the highs, the lows – all of it,” he added.
One major change Buttle plans to make in his life this spring will come in the canine form. “I am probably going to get a dog,” he said with a touch of excitement. “I have wanted one forever but I could not take care of one when I was training and splitting my time between California and Barrie but now I can.”
A vacation in the sun and some random traveling are part of Buttle’s plans for the summer.
He is scheduled to perform in a number of shows in Asia in July and August including Stars on Ice in Korea.