A hero is defined as a man who is admired and emulated for
his achievements and qualities. Elvis
Stojko is undoubtedly one of Canada's most heroic athletes.
Stojko has competed in Men's Singles figure skating for most
of his life. He serves as a hero to many aspiring skaters, as
well as those who appreciate the sport. What makes him a hero?
The same characteristics that helped him in his fight to the
top: ability, determination, and attitude.
The biggest thing that brought Stojko to the top rankings
of Figure Skating in the world was his ability. At the 1994 World
Figure Skating Championships, he landed the first-ever quadruple
jump in combination. This jump takes immense strength and ability.
Stojko also performs some of the most difficult foot sequences
in competition. His ability is something that he can rely on,
however, it isn't the feature that makes him a hero. Even those
with the best of ability falter occasionally. We may think that
star athletes never fail, but this has been proven wrong repeatedly.
Copyright © 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership
Elvis Stojko - winner of the
silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics
Ability is important in sports, but without determination,
ability is futile. Stojko is extremely determined. When others
predict failure, he proves them wrong and overcomes adversity.
He endured a foot injury during the 1995 season. The media expected
that he would lose his World Title, but, as he often does, he
fought back and regained the title, foot injury and all.
At the 1998 Nagano Olympics, Stojko was striving for gold,
but the media knew something was not right. After his final program,
Stojko sagged with pain and exhaustion. The secret came out that
he had been suffering from a severe groin injury. He competed
under extreme pressure, not to mention, pain. Determination won
him the silver medal. That performance is said to be his "gutsiest"
ever. I would have to agree. It takes great courage and determination
to bite back the pain and perform at the best level of which
you are capable. He did not use this injury as an excuse, but
pushed his limits. This determination is another heroic attribute.
Some heroes have ability and determination, but those that
can add a positive and confident attitude to this are the greatest.
When Stojko began skating at the World Amateur Skating Level,
his choice of music and costume was quite different from other
skaters. The judges, who were not familiar with his style and
did not appreciate it, gave him low marks. Even though this continued
for several seasons, Stojko did not change his style. He refused
to change who he was in order to please the judges. Gradually,
the judges adjusted to his character and began to mark him according
to his ability. After this change, Stojko won five Canadian championships,
three World Championships, and two Olympic silver medals.
Through these triumphant years, Stojko has kept the same message:
"Don't pretend to be someone else, be yourself." He
has not let the victory go to his head, but works had to earn
each one. Stojko is a representative for the Ronald McDonald
Children's Hospital. He helps children fulfill their dreams.
His compassion for others and good sportsmanship have made him
a role model and hero.
I think that Elvis Stojko is a hero. He has a great skating
ability, tremendous determination, and the attitude and heart
of a king. He has overcome the odds many times and always believed
in himself, aiming for his best. As a hero he is an awesome role
model for our country. In every
activity in which we participate, we should do our best, acknowledge
others' work, and continue to strive to become better.
"Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen,
but give us the determination to make the right things happen."