Jeffrey Buttle retires from figure skating

Reigning world champion Jeffrey Buttle retired from figure skating Wednesday, satisfied with all he has accomplished.

Reigning world champion Jeff Buttle is retiring from figure skating, saying that he's satisfied with everything he has accomplished in his career.

Buttle, 26, started considering his options following his world championship victory in Sweden this past spring.

"After a few months, and after I recovered from the high, I decided to look at everything I've accomplished," Buttle told reporters at a Toronto hotel on Wednesday. "And coming to this decision, I had to make sure that I was proud and satisfied with everything that I've done. At that point, I was sure."

Buttle said the lure of competing for Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver gave him pause to think about continuing on, but in the end, the world champion decided enough was enough.

"That was definitely the battle that was going on in my mind. I had to figure out if that was something that I really wanted," Buttle explained. "After the world championship, I was so happy with winning that I had to reflect on how important that was to me and having the Olympics here in Vancouver is important to me but winning them wasn't. It just wasn't in my heart."

Lee Barkell, Buttle's coach of 18 years, said the one thing that stood out about Buttle above all else was his genuine joy and passion for the sport.

"That was something he was able to maintain during his entire career, through all the ups and downs," said Barkell, who was also impressed by the drive and commitment Buttle displayed at all times.

"Every single day he skated, he was on a mission," Barkell said.

An engineering student at the University of Toronto, Buttle said he intends to continue to pursue his degree and participate in some professional figure skating shows. He also wants to stay involved with the sport and help Skate Canada in some way.

"Jeff has been a leader and ambassador for our sport and country over the years. He has embraced his role as a Canadian champion, world champion and Olympian by being a role model for young skaters in Canada and will continue to be involved and support Skate Canada," said Skate Canada CEO William Thompson.

Buttle made his senior international debut in the 2001-2002 season, placing second at a Grand Prix event in Japan.

He then placed third at the Canadian championships and first at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.

During the next six seasons, he climbed steadily through the ranks of international skating.

In addition to winning three national titles (2005, 2006 and 2007), he won a bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. In sixth place after a flawed short program in Italy, Buttle turned in a solid free skate to land on the medal podium.

Buttle won a gold (2008) and a silver (2005) in the world championships.

At this year's worlds in Sweden, he placed first in both programs and won the title by a wide margin.

Though he didn't attempt the vaunted quadruple jump, Buttle finished almost 14 points ahead of defending champion Brian Joubert of France.

With that victory, he became the first Canadian man to win a world title since Elvis Stojko in 1997.

"Representing Canada around the world has been an honour and I'm very proud of my achievements as a competitive figure skater," Buttle said. "I've had so much support throughout my career and I'll be forever grateful to my fans, coaches and of course, my family."