(March 18, 2009) –Four Canadians have been named as 2009 inductees to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. The induction will take place on March 28, 2009 at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Los Angeles, California.
World Champions Brian Orser and Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini will be inducted in the Outstanding Competitor Category, and long-time volunteer Joyce Hisey will be inducted as an Outstanding Contributor who has made a significant impact on the sport in a non-skating role.
Brian Orser of Toronto, Ont., was the first Canadian skater to win all three major national men’s titles at the novice, junior and senior levels. He became the first junior skater to land a triple Axel, at the 1979 Canadian Championships, earning him the nickname “Mr. Triple Axel.” He was World Champion in 1987 and also won four silver, and one bronze world medals. He is a two-time Olympic silver medalist from both 1984 and 1988. Following his successful professional career, Brian served as a coach consultant for Skate Canada and is now a successful coach and choreographer for elite skaters including two-time World bronze medalist Yu-Na Kim of Korea and two-time World Junior champion Adam Rippon.
He was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1988, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 1997.
Barbara Underhill of Toronto, Ont., and Paul Martini of Toronto, Ont., were five-time Canadian pair champions, and won the world title in 1984 in front of a home-country crowd in Ottawa, Ontario. Their long program from the 1984 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, is considered one of the greatest moments in Canadian sports history. Underhill and Martini combined emotion in their choreography with dramatic death spirals, triple twist lifts and spectacular throws. The two-time Olympic competitors in 1980 and 1984 went on to an outstanding professional career which is remembered for many signature performances, including When a Man Loves a Woman and Unchained Melody. Both went on to successful broadcasting careers with CBC, including coverage of four Olympic Winter Games.
They were inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 1997.
Joyce Hisey of Toronto, Ont., achieved more than 25 years of international and Olympic administrative experience since she was first appointed as an International Skating Union (ISU) referee in ice dancing in 1978. She served on the ISU Ice Dancing Committee (1984-92), ISU Council (1992-2002) and has been an ISU technical delegate (1996-2003), serving in that role at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Her expertise in this area resulted in the establishment of a training program that she led for technical delegates from many countries. She was a 1952 Canadian ice dancing silver medalist who began her administrative career as an ice dancing judge. Her national-level appointments include being elected to the then Canadian Figure Skating Association Board of Directors in 1977, where she served as the chairman of the Officials Development Committee for many years and contributed to the revision of ice dancing technical manuals for judges and coaches.
She was inducted into the Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1997 and received the Syl Apps Award in 2001, an annual recognition to citizens of the Province of Ontario who have contributed to the development of sport.
Also being inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame this year are:
Alena Vrzáňová (Aja Zanova), the four-time national champion from Czechoslovakia in the competitor category.
Willy Bietak, the former European, World and Olympic pair competitor for his native Austria will be inducted for his Outstanding Contributions with a creative/professional impact on figure skating. His production company incorporates figure skating into high-quality family entertainment and special events.
Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin, the six-time Russian champion and 1903 World silver medalist, is being inducted as an Outstanding Contributor prior to 1939.