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Kurt Browning and a 'look-alike' get set to lace up their skates

Source: Hamilton Spectator
Date: February 10, 2005
Author: Steve Milton

Kurt Browning is looking forward to skating with a guy who reminds him of, well, Kurt Browning.

Jeff Buttle, who won his first Canadian figure skating championship last month in London, is among three of Canada's current eligible stars who will join the pros in selected cities for Smucker's Stars on Ice Canadian tour.

Hamilton, the site of the April 23 tour stop, gets Buttle, while Emanuel Sandhu will skate in Vancouver, where he lives, and Victoria and Joannie Rochette will join Stars on Ice for stops in Montreal and London.

The 15th anniversary tour -- Copps Coliseum has been an important stop every year -- of the Canadian show is headlined by Browning but includes the likes of Alexei Yagudin, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier. It employs the same theme of "Imagination" that the larger U.S. tour does. The demanding show was choreographed by the legendary Christopher Dean, who won four world titles and one Olympics with dance partner Jayne Torvill.

"I see a lot of my young self in Jeff, only he's better," says the self-deprecating Browning, often regarded as the most complete skater who has ever performed. "The biggest thing I'd say is that I love to compete. When I was comfortable out there, it looked like I was where I wanted to be. It's good to watch a competitor who wants to be there. That's what I see with Jeff. He doesn't hold anything back. He's in his environment."

Buttle says Browning has always been one of his role models."What really inspired me as a competitor was just watching Kurt as a professional," Buttle said from California, where he spends half his training time.

"He's pushed the boundaries."