Renowned skater and choreographer Jeffrey Buttle burst onto the international scene in 2002 when he upset the favorites to win the ISU Four Continents Championships, a feat he repeated in 2004. He placed eighth in his World Championships debut, receiving great praise for his musicality and artistry. In 2005, he earned his first World medal and in 2006 he was the leading skater on the Canadian Winter Olympic team, winning the bronze medal. World Championships gold was his in 2008 (the first Canadian man to win the title in 11 years), when two strong performances placed him on the top step of the podium.
â€œIâ€™m obviously elated with the World Championships,â€ he said at the time. â€œAt first, it was shocking. It didnâ€™t seem like it was real. It took a while to digest the title itself. After, I felt there was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Instead of this pressure youâ€™d think I might feel it was the opposite. I feel very at ease on the ice.â€
Being World Champion came with some off-ice perks. Buttle was an invited guest at the Juno Awards (Canadian equivalent of the Grammy Awards), where he walked the red carpet and met singer-songwriter Leslie Fiest. He was a guest on Canadaâ€™s No. 1 comedy show, Air Farce Live. And he made his talk show debut with an appearance on The Hour.
With a World title to his credit, Buttle felt motivated to explore more innovative approaches to skating. On Sept. 10, 2008 he announced his retirement from competitive skating.
â€œRepresenting Canada around the world has been an honor and Iâ€™m very proud of my achievements as a competitive figure skater,â€ said Buttle. â€œIâ€™ve had so much support throughout my careerâ€”Iâ€™ll be forever grateful to my fans, coaches and of course, my family.â€
Buttle began skating at the age of 2 and competing at 6. During his competitive days, he divided his time between two training bases, working with Lee Barkell at the world-renowned Mariposa School Skating in Barrie, Ontario, and Raphael Arutunian at the Ice Castle International Training Center in Lake Arrowhead, Calif. He also worked with choreographer David Wilson at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, and he continues to work with Wilson on new programs that he performs in shows and on tours.
Buttleâ€™s performance skills and willingness to experiment with diverse choreography were honed during Stars on Ice Canada tours and ultimately evolved into his own work as a highly sought after choreographer. Today, he choreographs for individual skaters as well as tours in North America and Asia. Heâ€™s created programs for numerous young skaters in Canada and has choreographed for the sportâ€™s elite, including Canadian and World Menâ€™s Champion Patrick Chan, Chinese menâ€™s competitor Nan Song and Japanese menâ€™s competitor Yuzuru Hanyu.
He has choreographed ensemble pieces for productions such as Holiday Festival on Ice in Canada and The Ice in Japan and has been part of the creative team for the U.S. and Canadian Stars on Ice tours for the past two seasons. He was also part of the coaching/choreography team on the hit Canadian TV competition show Battle of the Blades. This year, he will be lead choreographer for the U.S., Canadian and Japanese Stars on Ice tours. He continues to sustain a high standard for his own skating and even defeated leading names in the sport to win the Medal Winners Open in Japan this past autumn.
â€œI enjoy having a lot on my plate and keeping busy,â€ Buttle said. Even after a busy day of choreography, he will take time to practice his own skating.
His commitment to his sport is ongoing. In June 2006, the members of the Canadian national team elected him as national team captain. He was also the athlete representative on the Skate Canada Officials Advisory Committee. Following his retirement from competitive skating, Buttle served as a mentor for young Canadian skaters.
Buttle gladly uses his renown from skating to benefit good causes. Heâ€™s skated in charity galas and also given time to World Vision Canada.
Heâ€™s received honors for his sense of style on and off the ice. In August 2008, the Mayor of Sudbury, Ontario presented him a plaque in recognition of his accomplishments. In 2002, International Figure Skating magazine named him one of the â€œTen Most Beautiful People in Figure Skating.â€