The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Underhill, Martini and Orser into World Figure Skating Hall of Fame

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LOS ANGELES - Barbara Underhill, Paul Martini and Brian Orser were part of one of Canadian figure skating's most successful eras some two decades ago.

The three were honoured Saturday for their contributions to the sport when they were inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the world figure skating championships at the Staples Center.

Underhill and Martini captured gold for Canada in pairs 25 years ago in Ottawa, and went on to a successful pro career.

"Time goes too fast, man, it just goes way too fast," Martini said. "You don't realize how much has gone by until something like this comes along and slaps you hard in the face, and 25 years has gone by. It seems like yesterday."

The Canadian pairs team captured the country's first gold medal in 11 years when they won the 1984 world championships at the Civic Centre, and their long program is still considered one of the greatest moments in Canadian sports history.

"I was standing out there thinking, this is the end of a really great long run in skating and we couldn't have picked a better time," Underhill said. "Our timing was impeccable in terms of when we won worlds, when we turned professional and just the ride that we took."

Orser, the 1987 world champion and '88 Olympic silver medallist, received the Hall of Fame honour just hours before taking his spot along the boards to coach South Korean sensation Kim Yu-na.

"The timing for this is really good," Orser said.

"I'm believe I'm being honoured because of my skating contribution to the sport, but now that I'm coaching, do I get to go in again if I get great success? I don't know," Orser added laughing.

Kurt Browning was the last Canadian to go into the Hall, inducted in 2006.

The other 2009 inductees were Aja Zanova, a Czech who was the first world skating champion to defect from communist Europe; Willy Bietak, a skating choreographer from Austria; and Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin of Russia, who won the 1908 Olympics.

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