The Inside Edge is where I take you behind-the-scenes of this week’s @SkatingPj Podcast. It was 15 years ago when I was asked to go to Korea for the first time. It was coincidentally also the first time that I was booked to do ‘guide track’ commentary for every skater in every discipline. I was thrilled. The name of the place was Jeonju, Korea and it was the first time that an event of this calibre had come to the country. This was obviously pre-Yu-Na kim days, although it was at one of the events in Korea where I first saw her in exhibition as a Junior and she was extraordinary even then. I digress. Back to Jeonju. I have so many fond ‘off the ice’ memories of that trip: the friendliness of the volunteers, the accreditation tags that read ‘Kiss Cry’ for people who had access to the Kiss and Cry area and the fact that everyone had a cute little cellphone with a dangling decoration. I know that sounds strange but you have to think back to 2002 and remember that in North America the typical cellphone was quite a bit bigger and not nearly as adorable.
I also remember the teenaged girls discovering the artistry of Jeff Buttle for the first time. There were some great skaters in that event including Johnny Weir and Takeshi Honda but it was Jeff who stood out. I even (nervously) had to give out autographs and stand for pictures because I am Canadian and I knew Jeff-Lee. It wasn’t so much a mispronunciation of his name but rather to their ears they thought it was a three pronged name like David Lee Roth or Sarah Jessica Parker. These fans were utterly charming and I have wondered over the years about the pics that would have been developed with me between two teenagers with my friends in the background giggling at the image.
Let’s get to the skating – Jeff Buttle was fantastic. He put two solid back to back programs together in a way that was new for him. His long program was to La Strada and his ability to convey emotion was totally captivating. I am not surprised that he went on to win an Olympic bronze medal in 2006 and the World title in 2008. Since leaving competitive skating, Jeff has enjoyed an amazing show career and also as a choreographer at the highest level. It has been a treat to see him evolve.
So, in honour of my return to Korea and the talent like Jeff Buttle, that uses the Four Continents Championships to ‘bring it’. My conversation with Jeff Buttle took place about 4 years ago and still will delight you with insight about his life. Follow Jeff on Twitter @J_Butt.
The Outside Edge is where I highlight videos from across the skating world and bring you a little bonus from somewhere on YouTube or beyond. I found a little highlight pack from the 2002 men’s event at the ISU Four Continents Championships. Even in this short clip, you see that Jeff Buttle was wonderful.
Listen to this episode of @SkatingPj and subscribe to the podcast with the player below: