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Father, husband and champion

Profile: Lloyd Eisler, most interesting man in the world — SCV edition

Posted: June 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Lloyd Eisler, right, director of skating operations at the L.A. Kings Valley Ice Center in Panorama City, works with employees at the rink. Eisler is also a figure skating coach.

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Editor’s note: This is the second part in an occasional series of profiles on “the most interesting man in the world — SCV edition.”

Champion pairs figure skater Lloyd Eisler remembers one of his proudest moments as an athlete was walking into the opening ceremonies at the 1984 Olympic Stadium in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, behind the Canadian flag.

“I represented my country four times at different Olympic Games,” he said. “Representing your country is among the greatest things you can ever do.”

Eisler, of Saugus, and pairs partner Isabelle Brasseur won five Canadian pairs figure skating championships and two Olympic bronze medals. They competed in the 1988 games in Calgary, Canada, the 1992 games in Albertville, France, and the 1994 games in Lillehammer, Norway. They also were inducted in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

In the 1984 Winter Olympics, Eisler competed in Sarajevo with pairs partner Katherina Matousek. They finished eighth.

Born and raised in Seaforth, Canada, Eisler learned to skate at age 7.

At age 14, he was chosen to skate at the Junior World Championships after having won a national title at the novice level.

“I realized at that time I might have a future in skating,” he said.

Eisler was 31 at his last Olympics. After their final Olympics, Eisler and Brasseur turned professional, touring with skating legends and peers Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Nancy Kerrigan and Michelle Kwan for 14 years.

After a farewell skating tour that became a television special Eisler and Brasseur retired in 2004.
Eisler is married to actress Kristy Swanson. The couple have a son Magnus, 4.

Among the people Eisler counts as having an important — and positive — impact on his life was his father.

“My father was a great influence in my life,” he said. “He always reminded me to enjoy my sport. He would ask, ‘Are you having fun today?’ It made me feel good and helped me relax, which is important when you are dealing with that kind of pressure.”

Eisler said his parents were at every national championship he competed in from 1977 to 1994.

“They were at many World Championships, and they were with me in 1988 at Calgary, and in 1994, in Lillehammer,” he said.

Eisler’s father served in the Canadian navy for 20 years, then worked in the restaurant business before becoming a truck driver.

“He was a hard-working man with an incredible love for his family,” Eisler said. “He had down home roots, he worked 18-19 hours, and day and then gave everything to his children.”

Eisler’s father died Jan. 24.

Despite his Canadian roots Eisler is now a total Southern California convert.

“I love living in California because I can drive my motorcycle almost every day of the year,” he said. “I met my wife here in California, and there are great opportunities here, too.”

Eisler said he is an outdoors person.

“I can be in the snow in a couple hours but also swim every day,” he said.

His love for skating has never left Eisler, who works as a skating coach. Now he has taken on an additional challenge, director of skating operations for the L.A. Kings Valley Ice Center in Panorama City.

“The new owners Scott Floman and Dave Serianne have made improvements and updated the facility,” he said. “We’re changing it into a new-age ice facility. We’ve got ice availability, it is open to the public, we have hockey programs, figure skating programs — we’re transforming the facility into one that will have something for everyone.”

As an elite-level athlete, Eisler has a life philosophy that some might consider extreme.

“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room,” Eisler said. “Some people might think it is brash and harsh, but that’s how I’ve lived my life. I’ve pushed myself to the limit all the time, and I never give up. I’ve had disappointments, but that never meant that I wasn’t going to do what I set out to accomplish.”

As a coach, Eisler said the most important aspect for his students to learn is the fun of skating.

“I want to instill in my students the enjoyment of skating,” he said.

“Don’t think of the big picture right now; think about having a fun time — the rest will follow.”

 For more information about the skating programs at L.A. Kings Valley Ice Center, visit www.lakingsvalleyicecenter.com or call (818) 893-1784.

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