Pj's Top 10: Canadian champions, 1980-present | Figure Skating | CBC Sports

Figure SkatingPj's Top 10: Canadian champions, 1980-present

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013 | 11:22 PM

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There is only one thing to be said about the many accomplishments by Canada's Brian Orser: impressive. (Jerome Delay/Getty Images)
There is only one thing to be said about the many accomplishments by Canada's Brian Orser: impressive. (Jerome Delay/Getty Images)

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With the national championships set for next week, CBCSports.ca's Pj Kwong takes a look at more of her favourite Canadian figure skaters champions from 1980 to present.
When I was trying to put together a top 10 list of amazing Canadian skaters, I realized that I had enough to make two. The criteria for inclusion were national titles, and at least one Olympic medal.

When I got to the end of the list, I realized that there were some skaters who won world titles, but never made it to the Olympic podium.

These skaters make up my final entry and are just as worthy of honourable mentions.

If you missed it, here's my list of the greatest Canadian champions from 1930-1980.

Click on each skater's name to watch a YouTube clip of them in action.

Went on to: Men's silver medallist at 1984 Sarajevo & 1988 Calgary Olympics.

There is only one thing to be said about the many accomplishments from Orser: impressive.  Orser was Canadian champion an amazing eight consecutive times from 1981 - 1988. By the end of his career, he had won four world silvers, two bronze and the 1987 gold medal at the world championships, along with two Olympic silvers.

In 1988 at the Olympics in Calgary, the outcome of the "Battle of the Brians" was on everybody's mind as the rivalry between Orser and 1988 Olympic and American champion Brian Boitano came to be known.

Went on to: Ladies' silver medallist at 1988 Calgary Olympics.

Manley won the third of her three national titles in 1988 before heading to Calgary for the Olympics. She always had the potential to succeed but nobody really had her pegged as a contender. Finishing in third after the short program, the question was whether or not she could keep her nerves in check to threaten for a medal.

In this Cinderella season, not only did she win an Olympic silver, she also took home a world silver medal as well.

Went on to: Ice dance bronze medallists at 1988 Calgary Olympics.

In 1986, Wilson and McCall proved that they were among the best ice dancers in the world when they won their first of three consecutive world bronze medals. In the 1988 season when they won the first Olympic ice dance medal for Canada, they also won their seventh consecutive, and final national title.

Went on to: Pairs bronze medallist at 1992 Albertville & 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

The team of Brasseur and Eisler will always get full marks in my book for their amazing technical feats. They also strike gold in overall gutsiness. At the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994, Brasseur was skating with a suspected broken rib and they still managed to take the bronze.

In a career that spanned from 1987 to 1994, the team earned five national titles, three world silver medals, one bronze and a world title in 1993, in addition to the two Olympic bronze medals.

Went on to: Men's silver medallist at 1994 Lillehammer & 1998 Nagano Olympics.

In many ways,  Stojko is one of a kind. His jumping ability was one of the things that set him apart in his generation of skaters. His outstanding work ethic and preparation led him to seven national titles from 1994 to 2002, three world titles and two Olympic silver medals.

What will forever set him apart for me is his courage under pressure. When you watch the video of his free program from the Nagano Olympics in 1998, you wouldn't know that he had a severe and very painful groin injury.

You also wouldn't know that he told me he tore an abdominal muscle during a triple Axel, and he almost stopped his program. He didn't stop though and the pain registered on his face but only after the music stopped.

Went on to: Pairs gold medallist at 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

Sale and Pelletier were wonderful pair skaters. Over the course of their career, they won three consecutive national titles from 2000 to 2002 and one world title in 2001 before claiming their co-Olympic title in 2002.

So much has been written about the judging scandal that rocked the 2002 Olympic Games. Sale and Pelletier initially won the silver until it was discovered that French judge Marie-Reine LeGougne had already indicated that her vote was going to go for the Russian team of Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, regardless of how anybody skated.

This situation proved to be the catalyst that caused the creation of the judging system that is in use today.

When it was all over, the Canadian team earned Olympic gold medals of their own.

Went on to: Men's bronze medallist at 2006 Turin Olympics

From 2005 to 2007, Buttle was the national champion. Interestingly, he lost the title in 2008 to Patrick Chan, but went on to win the world title in March of that year.

Sitting in the arena during the 2006 Turin Olympics, it came down to the final skate of the night to confirm that Buttle would take home the bronze medal.

A wonderfully artistic skater, Buttle is now making his name as a choreographer to the sport's highest ranked skaters including this year's short program for two-time and reigning world champion Chan.

Went on to: Ladies' bronze medallist at 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Rochette, a six-time consecutive national champion starting in 2005, also won a world silver medal in 2009.

The thing for which she is perhaps best known was skating to an Olympic bronze medal only days after the unexpected death of her mother, Therese Rochette. The elder Rochette had travelled to Vancouver to watch her daughter compete, but died suddenly of a heart attack.

I thought that skating her short program - when and how Rochette did at the 2010 Olympicc given the sad circumstances - was extraordinary.

Went on to: Ice dance gold medallists at 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Virtue and Moir have already won four national titles, two world titles and an Olympic title. They are on their way to becoming legends whose names will live on long after they end their amateur career.

With their sights set firmly on the Olympics in Sochi in 2014, it's fun to take a look back at their first trip to the Olympics in 2010.

This last entry of my top-10 list has to be devoted to the Canadian champions who won world titles but never made it to the Olympic podium:

Went on to: Two national titles, 1962 pairs world title

Went on to: National title, 1963 men's world title

Went on to: Five national title, 1984 pairs world title

Went on to: Four national titles, four men's world titles 

Went on to: 10 national titles, 2003 ice dance world title

Went on to: Five national titles, two consecutive men's world titles 

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