Road To The Olympic Games

Figure Skating

Jeffrey Buttle retiring from skating in 2010

The 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games will be the end of the competitive figure skating line for Canada's Jeffrey Buttle.

The 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games will be the end of the competitive figure skating line for Jeff Buttle.

The 2005 world silver medallist and 2006 Olympic bronze medallist said Wednesday that he'll quit competing and go into more touring ice shows after the Winter Games in Vancouver in little more than two years.

"I won't be going anywhere past 2010," the 25-year-old native of Smooth Rock Falls, Ont., said of his competitive career.

"I have accomplished a lot as a competitor. There's things I want to do in the sport besides competing."

He interrupted his chemical engineering studies at the University of Toronto three years ago, so returning to school also is a possibility.

First things first: Buttle, who is currently training in California, will arrive in Vancouver on Tuesday to go for a fourth straight Canadian championship.

"I feel really good about my preparations for nationals," he said from Lake Arrowhead during a Skate Canada conference call.

"I definitely feel as if I'm in my prime."

Buttle finished sixth at the world championships last March after a season interrupted by a back injury.

He hoped to rebound and get to the Grand Prix Final this season but did not accumulate enough points in his two Grand Prix assignments last autumn to qualify for Turin in December, which was a disappointment.

"After the Cup of Russia, I had a little more time than I was hoping for," he said.

He was home for Christmas and trained in Barrie, Ont., for two weeks before heading back to the mountains on the West Coast, where he works with coach Rafael Arutunian.

"I'm on the right path," he said.

The back is not a worry now.

"It's great," he said. "Because of the injury last season it gets tight every now and then but I'll definitely take tightness over pain."

Dropped new short program

The biggest change he's made lately is dropping his new short program and going back to the technical program he used last season.

"I really liked the new program but if it doesn't compete well … I just wasn't jumping it well, and, if you don't jump well it reflects on your component score," he explained. "It was a tough decision.

"I was a bit of a skeptic at first. But I think it was the right decision."

The 2008 nationals are his 10th as a senior and 14th at various age levels.

"It'll be exciting competing at the site of the 2010 Games," he said.

Buttle had a quick answer when asked who he thinks will be his chief rival.

"Obviously, it's going to be Patrick (Chan)," he said.

Chan, of Toronto, made it to the GP Final and the 17-year-old has been wowing the judges all season.

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