Stars on Ice
Kurt List

Interview with Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko

Kurt & Elvis Stojko Interview Summary from Charlottetown, PEI radio show

Mar. 8, 2005

Summarized by Kirsten

This morning, I received a *very* pleasant surprise! Kurt and Elvis stopped by to do an interview on one of our local radio stations this morning before tonight's big show. :-) :-) Some of the questions were basically the same as from the recent Vicki Gabereau, but others were quite different.

A few minutes before Kurt and Elvis entered the studio, the host joked he asked them to wear all their championship medals, but they didn't want to look like rap stars. ;-)

Kurt said maybe he and Elvis should introduce themselves since they're not on TV. Kurt, Elvis and Brian Orser call themselves "The Three Kings" and think it's cool they get to skate together on this tour since they've taken different paths during their pro careers. They briefly mentioned the Russian acrobats and the other skaters on tour and said the crowds have been really supportive so far. :D

The host asked them how Kurt and Elvis handled the pressure of competing against each other and competition in general, and compared figure skating to hockey, where you have teammates to rely on.

Kurt said worrying about your teammates are doing is one less thing to worry about figure skating. If you step on the ice with good intentions and you actually want to be there, then nothing can go wrong and you'll be a better person for it. "If you can get out there in weird clothes and skate to music in front of people, you can do anything." :-)

Elvis said he focused on his training and advance preparation, saying the more prepared you are and the more comfortable you are with your program and yourself in general, the more successful you'll be. That doesn't mean you won't be nervous beforehand, but you'll be better able to align those feelings. "Just have (the butterflies) fly in formation and you'll be fine." If you can skate cleanly in practice, you'll probably be able to do the same in competition as long as you focus, keep distractions away and believe in yourself.

The host asked Kurt and Elvis about off-ice training and Kurt said he didn't do a lot of it in his younger years. The world has gotten smarter now, but back then, Kurt mostly went to the rink, but did a lot of other sports, mentioning his hockey background and saying he was "always running after a ball of some kind--a football, a soccer ball, a baseball." He was always doing something--badminton, tennis or just biking to the rink. "My life was a workout."

Elvis mentioned his martial arts, motocross and dirt biking and Kurt interrupted him with "You're only 25, aren't you?" ;-) Elvis said cross-training worked well for both him and Kurt, but Elvis also said he did more mental training than anything else.

The host talked about a woman with a daughter formerly in figure skating who's admired both Kurt and Elvis for many years and is now on her way to university. The host said this girl used to love Kurt like you wouldn't believe, but after Kurt got married and Elvis took over the spotlight, she's now deeply in love with Elvis. :p Kurt said he'd heard this story before, only with himself and Brian Orser, and said in this really funny high-pitched voice, "I used to love Brian, but now I love you. Oh, who's that guy? That's Elvis. I love him!"

The host said this girl would be sitting at ice level with her face pressed against the glass. Elvis said there was no glass on the boards, so Kurt suggested she make a sign saying, "I used to love Kurt, but now I love Elvis," so they'll know who she is. ;-)

The host asked whether Kurt or Elvis golf, and Kurt said he's golfing at the hotel today (hopefully *not* outdoors on a day like today--LOL!) The host recommended Kurt come back in the summer when he can actually see the grass and try some of our province's finest golf courses (nice shameless tourism plug there!)

Kurt said although he and Elvis travel all over the world, it's almost always in winter, and the host asked what they did during the off-season. Kurt said he reacquainted himself with his family and they both look for music, casually organize their season and work on new programs.

Elvis added they don't really have an off-season anymore since there are even various shows, functions, motivational speeches, etc. during the summer.

Elvis also said when they do shows featuring live singers, they have to prepare a program that fits the theme and said he was busier as a pro than as an amateur, when he just stayed and trained in one place and went to the occasional competition. But now he travels much more often and doesn't get as much preparation time.

The host asked Kurt and Elvis what it felt like to have arenas named after them. Kurt said it was cool, but his hometown of Caroline has under 1,000 people and it was the same rink where he learned to skate as a kid. Kurt said he makes it back home to Caroline two or three times a year.

The host congratulated Kurt on a very special anniversary. Kurt said, "Moncton?" (the next stop on the tour) and the host said it was the first time a Canadian skater had won two back-to-back world titles. (1990 Halifax Worlds, of course!)

The host asked what were Kurt and Elvis' all-time favourite jumps and Kurt replied, "Anything landed." ;-) Then the host asked what were the most complicated jumps either of them have ever performed. Kurt said "Triple axel/triple toe/triple loop," and Elvis said he landed a quad lutz in practice.

The host asked if either jump had ever been landed in competition. Elvis said 4-toe/3-toe/3-loop has been landed before, but not the 3-axel, and no one has ever attempted a 4-lutz (not even Michael Weiss--LOL!). Elvis wanted to try it, but every time he started working on it, something interrupted his plans (injury, needing to work on something else, etc.)

Kurt said he and Elvis were younger when they attempted all these difficult jumps and that's all they did and what their main focus was as eligibles. Kurt said it would be great if he could get 5,000 or 10,000 people to see him perform at his house every day, but they need to go to them and it's hard to pretend they can keep doing the jumps they used to do. But Kurt said they've gained in other areas and he wouldn't necessarily want to go back to that to give up what he has now.

The host asked about backflips and Kurt said there would be backflips in the show, but not from him. Kurt told the old story about no longer doing backflips as a present to his wife since he toppled on his back the last time he tried one. ;-)

The host asked Kurt whether he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps, and Kurt said he and Elvis had a long talk about that during the long drive and said they definitely both wanted their children to skate since it's given them both so much pleasure over the years--not just jumping or performing, but skating itself. Kurt said he's not going to push Gabriel into serious competitive skating, though, and Elvis said it's important to children to experience other things in life, too.

The host then talked about the cast of SOI's recent "Family Feud" appearance and said it was too bad Elvis couldn't make it. The host asked Kurt about some of the more creative answers given and Kurt mentioned David Pelletier's "What's up, monkey butt?" answer to the question, "A phrase with the word 'monkey' in it." The host said he was surprised that expression isn't used more often in the States. ;-)

Kurt mentioned what a fantastic skater Shawn Sawyer is, how new the touring experience is for him and that "he just has it."

The host asked Kurt and Elvis about their main skating idols, and Kurt said he was sure both of them would mention Brian Orser first because Brian's "on a first-name basis with Canada." Kurt said he and Elvis both had the same story the first time they both jumped alongside Brian at a show. Elvis also said although he trained with Brian at the same club for years, Elvis also considers Kurt one of his idols since they competed against each other for many years and followed in his footsteps. Even now, Elvis says the magic of skating alongside his two idols never goes away and he thinks, "Oh, I'm skating with Kurt and Brian. This is really cool." :-)

BTW, this station does a "Family Feud-type" segment every morning, so the host gave Elvis the opportunity to play Family Feud since he missed out on doing it with the cast of SOI.

The question was "Name an item you'd find on the inside door of most refrigerators," and Elvis got to answer first: "Butter." Kurt's answer was "milk," but a few seconds later he said he should have said "eggs." ;-) Both answers were pretty far down the survey.

Kurt said everyone uses margarine now and it doesn't fit in the butter tray. "It's an American show; forget it." Kurt also said he was told some of the questions he and the other SOI skaters were asked during "Family Feud" were 15 years old. The host replied he just made that one up this morning fresh for Kurt and Elvis.

Kurt said he hoped the skaters all landed their jumps like butter during the tour. The host thanked both of them for stopping by and hoped they had a great show.

The host said although he's seen Kurt and Elvis compete at Worlds and other TV shows, he's never seen either of them live before, so this will be a real treat for him. Believe me, dude, you're not the only one. ;-)

Frankly, I was *very* impressed by how much the host (whose name I really *should* know, but it's blanking out on me right now) seemed to know about Kurt, Elvis and skating in general. I listen to this guy's show on a fairly regular basis and somehow, I've never imagined him as a really big skating fan. ;-) With all due respect, I thought he did a better job than many of the, ahem, more higher-profile shows these skaters have appeared on over the years. Frankly, *I* had no idea this was the anniversary of Kurt's second world title (and apparently, neither did Kurt!)