TORONTO — Former Olympic skater Emanuel Sandhu says he struggled with his decision to focus on a dance career instead of on-ice competition, but is proud that his dedication has paid off with a coveted spot in the Top 10 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada.
Sandhu says he’ll be cheering Canada’s skating hopefuls from the sidelines when the Winter Games come to his hometown of Vancouver, and says that his newfound success on the CTV series won’t keep him from one day returning to competitive skating.
“I don’t think I could ever turn my back on my skating, like I could never turn my back on my dance career,” Sandhu said Thursday, a day after the results episode named him as one of the 10 finalists.
“It’s just too much a part of the fabric of who I am and a part of my identity…. It was a very, very difficult decision to step back from my skating career. I haven’t given up my eligibility as an athlete, but even to just take a couple of seasons off, it was a huge decision to me.”
“I’m supporting all of Canadian athletes, I know what it’s like to be in the trenches.”
Sandhu stepped away from competitive skating two years ago after a disappointing showing at the world figure skating championships. He went on to pursue singing and acting gigs, including a failed bid to land in the Top 20 of the first season of So You Think You Can Dance Canada.
The 28-year-old says that experience only made him more determined to land a spot in Season 2, although Sandhu continued to perform at ice shows and questioned whether he should pursue Olympic glory instead.
“That thought certainly crossed my mind but then I had to ask myself, ‘OK, what ingredients do I need to become a champion?’ ” said Sandhu, a classically trained ballet dancer. So You Think You Can Dance Canada airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays on CTV.