Thanks to Jeff B -

Canada will have three entries in figure skating's Grand Prix final

Canadian Press

Monday, December 01, 2003

(CP) - Jeffrey Buttle will be the first Canadian in a Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final singles event in four years.

There will be a total of three Canadian entries, matching the previous high, in Colorado Springs, Colo., from Dec. 12-14. Buttle, 21, of Sudbury, Ont., who trains with coaches Lee Barkell, Wendy Pilion and Doug Leigh at the Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie, Ont., earned the trip by winning the gold medal and $25,000 US first prize at the NHK Trophy meet in Japan on Sunday.

Combined with his second-place showing at the MasterCard Skate Canada International in Mississauga, Ont., in early November, the win put Buttle second to only 2003 world champion Evgeni Plushenko of Russia in the overall standings at the conclusion of the six-meet series.

Canada had not qualified a man for the GP Final since Elvis Stojko of Richmond Hill, Ont., went to Lyon, France, in January 2000 and won silver. Stojko competed in four GP finals. Buttle is only the second Canadian male to make the grade in the nine years the series has existed.

It is the third time in nine finals going back to 1996 that Canada has qualified as many as three entries, and the first time since two years ago in Kitchener, Ont.

Also going to Colorado Springs are pairs skaters Anabelle Langlois and Patrice Archetto, and ice dancers Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.

Langlois, 22, of Grand Mere, Que., and Archetto, 30, of Montreal, who are coached by Jan Ullmark at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton, were sixth in the pairs standings after adding a second at NHK to an earlier fourth-place finish. They were sixth in the GP final last year in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Dubreuil, 29, and Lauzon, 28, of Boisbriand, Que., qualified for the final for the fourth consecutive year. They finished sixth in their three previous attempts. They were fifth in the standings this season with second- and third-place showings. They train in Lyon with coach Muriel Boucher-Zazoui.

For the eighth consecutive year, no Canadian earned sufficient points to qualify for the women's singles final. The only Canadian to ever appear in the final was Josee Chouinard, who won bronze in Paris in 1996 when it was known as the Champions Series.

Way to go Jeffery!