Matt Savoie- why was he so underrated

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Andofanatic, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. Andofanatic

    Andofanatic Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Messages:
    90
    Matt Savoie was such a beautiful skater with great technique and athletic ability too. Yet judges never appreciated him, and he didnt even make a U.S World or Olympic team until his final year. Why wasnt he recognized more.
  2. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

    Joined:
    May 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,016
  3. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    7,870
    Matt was underrated because he did not have a quad in the Yag-Plushy ... -Goebel era.
  4. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    6,346
    Weir and lysacek didn't have quads pre 2007-8 but just like what happened in Torino he would tend to double late triples.
    Last edited: May 1, 2013
  5. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,763
    The judges and their obsession with the blasted quad, above all else. An exciting jump when well done, but if you can't do all the other elements well, then the program is not complete & balanced, IMHO. Matt deserved better treatment/respect by the judges through his eligible career.
  6. chanunderrated

    chanunderrated Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Messages:
    128
    Matt skated in an era many guys who were beating him were not doing quads. There was much more to his lower placements, be it lack of hype, lack of excitement, lack of USFSA support, timing and the vagaraties of chance, or the judges plain just not liking him.
  7. PairSk8Fan

    PairSk8Fan Banned Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    Messages:
    330
    Easy.

    Matt Savoie had ZERO clout with USFS or the judges. His competitors, particularly Michael Weiss and Tim Goebel,had clout via their coaches (Wisiger/Heiss) and they had the quads.

    Matt comes from Peoria, Illinois, not a skating mecca and his coach did not have the clout of the others. Also, as a devoted and full time college student at Bradley University (I believe), he did not have the time for "politics" by doing USFS shows, camps, seminars and the like to get the support USFS was putting behind the others.

    As a result, his ranking kept dropping in the US......
  8. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    6,346
    No quad weir and no quad lysacek totally supplanted weiss and goebel and so could have no quad savoie.
  9. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,494
    How was his speed, as an adult? I only saw him compete live in 1997 and 98, when speed and posture were still issues for him as a junior/beginning senior. I can see that the posture improved, but it's hard to tell about speed on TV.
  10. nylynnr

    nylynnr Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    Messages:
    395
    As a competitor Matt Savoie was a lowkey presence off the ice and, fair or unfair, was thought of by some as a rather bland presence on the ice. He was the sort of skater who inspired a select group of "serious" fans, but he did not have the charisma or flair of some other skaters of his era. He also had poor timing with his stirrup fiasco at 2003 US nationals and -- again fair or unfair -- came across as very low energy at the Dortmund worlds, where he placed something like 17th in the free. Sometimes he didn't fully capitalize on his chances.
  11. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,689
    I saw him compete several times and his skating didn't seem "slow" in comparison to the other men.
  12. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,437
    What about Matt's track record of clean performances? Unfortunately, in the 6.0 era, reputation was somewhat based on supposed consistency and clean skates. Skaters like Matt were never given the benefit of the doubt when they had error-filled performances (particularly in the long program).

    Unfortunately, I can't think of many competitions where Matt had clean SP + FS except for perhaps 2001 GPF.
  13. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,482
    ^^ Oh, but I can think of many mesmerizing and inspiring performances by Matt Savoie (look at the thread Sylvia linked for clips and comments). Numerous U.S. Nationals performances, exhibitions, 2006 Olympics performances (especially his fp). Matt is going to be remembered for the transcendent moments, no matter whether he was perfectly clean all the time in two performances at one competition.

    Clearly, Stephane Lambiel rarely had clean skates during competitive performances. But neither Matt nor Stephane will be remembered for not skating cleanly in the way that Patrick Chan will likely be.
  14. Cheylana

    Cheylana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Messages:
    4,925
    Yes, I think this gets to the heart of it. Also, on and off the ice, he was sort of "introverted" in an extrovert's world...didn't help.
  15. Eyre

    Eyre New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Messages:
    321
    He skated slow to me on TV.
  16. VarBar

    VarBar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,187
    When you finish 12th, 16th and 11th at Worlds, you must be lacking a lot more than just the political clout. JMHO.
  17. shine

    shine Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Messages:
    4,342
  18. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2002
    Messages:
    4,637
    You can't look at one program is isolation and figure out what's missing. You have to see the rest of the field to figure out where he fits in the ranksing. I liked Matt a lot when he skating but in comparison with the other men competiting at the time, he wasn't World Podium material.
  19. Jun Y

    Jun Y Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    Messages:
    1,070
    I saw him at 2005 Skate Canada and he seemed pretty fast.
  20. shine

    shine Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Messages:
    4,342
    Okay, so 10 skaters at the event all had a better free skate than this or what is it?
  21. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,482
    Absolutely shine, and thank you! Way ahead of what a lot of Worlds competitors look like today stumbling around trying to grab IJS points.

    And, zaphyre14, if you need to look at what the other competitors did who were placed ahead of Matt that year, why not go back and do the research yourself. You're the one seemingly trying to belittle Matt's accomplishments and disprove the clear fact that he was under-appreciated during his competitive career. Matt Savoie is a skater's skater whose performances had great influence in a subtle but very impacting way. His skating still delights and mesmerizes fans who understand that he epitomizes the essence of what skating is all about: pure technique/ pure athleticism combined with pure artistry and heartfelt emotion. Matt Savoie was a skater who was not only ahead of his time, he also transcended time in joyous moments on the ice that will live forever.

    To claim that Matt wasn't "World Podium material" is actually meaningless, even despite being a dismissive insult. I'll bet lots of skaters WISH they could skate like Matt Savoie did in his Worlds debut, or indeed skate like Matt on any given day, and that includes current World champion, Patrick Chan. I don't think it's a coincidence that Kathy Johnson, former mentor and dance instructor for both Matt Savoie and Jeremy Abbott, is now exclusively coaching Patrick Chan.

    Despite his World podium medals and substantial top-notch skating assets, Patrick is essentially still searching for his own elusive identity and self-acceptance as a skater on the ice. Patrick is a wannabe trying to follow and live up to the genuine authenticity and artistry of Canadian giants, Toller Cranston, Brian Orser, Kurt Browning, Jeff Buttle, and he's trying to equal the artistic excellence of skaters like Matt Savoie, Jeremy Abbott, Dai Takahashi, Stephane Lambiel, and Johnny Weir. Having a boatload of medals doesn't actually provide anyone with the transcendent stature, esteemed reputation and legacy of genuine performance quality and magical moments on ice that the aforementioned skaters have achieved, and in whose bootsteps Patrick is at the moment a mere speck even despite his humongous SS.


    ETA:

    Thank you, Matt!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=lFAsNpBJbk0&feature=endscreen
    Who cares about the clueless marks! If chills don't run up your spine watching this seamless performance, are you truly a skating fan?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-zsYqfw-pg 2006 Olympics fp
    Amazing transitions and musical interpretation. Just wow! Matt Savoie is inspiring in the way that he overcame his shyness, self-doubts, skating politics, performance anxieties and athletic pressures to achieve his goals and his dreams. Kudos!


    I love Matt Savoie! I love Tom Dickson!
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  22. munow

    munow New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    99
    Lol I have to agree there.
  23. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,689
    If it gives you chills simply to watch this, you can only imagine what it was like to be in the arena!
    I cried.
  24. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2002
    Messages:
    4,637
    I made one post. How is that belittling? Over-react much?

    I'm not saying - and never have said - that Matt wasn't good. He was a marvelous skater and I enjoyed watching him. That's it. But I do find it hard to buy into the concept that many panels of different judges from all over the country and the world over a period of amny somehow conspired to keep him down in the standings. That's just nuts.

    Sometimes, no matter how good you are, you're just not good enough.
    skatemomaz and (deleted member) like this.
  25. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,689
    I hope no one ever says that to, or about, you!

    It didn't apply to Matt, IMO.
  26. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,482

    ^^ Stay stuck on the numbers then. What Matt Savoie has achieved in his life and in his skating career will never be measured by man-made ISU judges' scores and placements.

    LOL alright. It's definitely fun to sit on the sidelines and make argumentative judgments... very tempting and pleasurable for our egos. I do admire Patrick that at least he's on the field of battle making the effort and achieving some genuine triumphs. Still he has a long way to go, IMO. Skating is very subjective, so to each their own assessment. What we think doesn't really matter in the face of transcendent artistic genius, which Matt Savoie's skating career abundantly epitomizes.
  27. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,494
    It's one thing to appreciate what a skater does well, and to lament what they did not do so well or lament the fact that the judging standards at the time seemed to prioritize different strengths or lament the luck of some skaters having breakout performances in the right place at the right time and others suffering from the luck of the draw, off day at just the wrong time, or skating in the shadow of more successful compatriots.

    I think all of the above reasons can explain why Savoie didn't have more competitive success -- without positing active conspiracy theories -- and why many fans adore his skating nonetheless.

    I just don't like the approach of declaring some skaters "worthy" and others "unworthy" as summaries of their entire careers. I'd rather just enjoy the good stuff.
  28. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,482
    Ah, dear zaphyre14, mayhap you might look to your own posts for overreaction ...

    I echo skatesindreams comments.

    Again, zaphyre14, maybe you are describing an experience you personally recall of not being considered "good enough." I sympathize with you there. Matt Savoie never allowed judges' put-downs to define his worth as a person and a figure skater (neither has Max Aaron, as he recently publicly reflected). Most skaters who have the grit and determination to achieve learn to develop a tough skin and to let the judges' marks melt from their memory. Patrick Chan might be well advised to do the same.

    And btw, you seem to be the main person talking about conspiracy, nuts and judges' panels. Most of us in here are talking about what a great skater Matt Savoie is, and how under-appreciated he was during his competitive career. Those who don't agree about those two facts can enjoy eating all the nuts they can consume.


    As always, thanks for your astute logic and perceptiveness, gkelly.
  29. shine

    shine Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Messages:
    4,342
    Agreed. Savoie just out-COPed about 98% of the skaters skating under COP in that program.

    I also agree. There's a difference between judges actively conspiring against a certain skater (which no one has suggested) and vastly overlooking the skater due to him not having a strong political clout or federation backing (which is what most people here are suggesting), being USA's number 3 and not even a consistent pick at that. In reality, the latter was probably very close to the truth.
  30. nylynnr

    nylynnr Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    Messages:
    395
    You ride a very high horse, Aftershocks.
    mag and (deleted member) like this.
  31. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,482
    ^^ In your opinion, nylynnr, and you're welcome to hold whatever opinion, and to express whatever metaphor, and as well to ride or not ride yourself. ;)

    Indeed though, I absolutely love to ride real four-legged horses. Animals, unlike people, can be the most wonderful and loyal companions. They don't judge.

    Me, as well as most of us here, a few posters excepted, just can't seem to quit.
  32. taf2002

    taf2002 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Messages:
    13,782
    Yes, it's very subjective. So what YOU find pleasing or podium-worthy others might not. Does that make you right & them wrong? Only if you're so egocentric that you believe your opinion is always right. You stated your case - no one needs to read it over & over.

    FTR, I adored Matt's skating. I've seen him in person & he gave me chills. Besides that, he's a really nice guy & has a lot going for him other than skating. I find it hard to understand why judges valued what skaters like Jeff Buttle did & didn't value Matt as much - I thought he was much better. His transitions into jumps were probably the most difficult in the field. But I think that at a certain point the judges kind of gave up on him because of his years of inconsistancies. I thought he should have been sent to the Olys in 2002 (that's just me) but he really didn't accomplish clean programs until the 2004-2005 season.
  33. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,482
    ^^ Far be it from me taf2002, to force you to read any of my posts over and over, much less agree with anything I perceive or have to say.

    Right and wrong is in the mind and eye of the beholder ... I don't ever claim to know what's right or wrong -- that's a whole 'nother can of worms, or bag of nuts. Indeed, I only express how I feel.
  34. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Messages:
    21,980
    I love Matt. I screamed at my TV when he wasn't sent to the 2002 Olympics. My favorite SP of all time was done by Matt.

    But that sort of over the top gushing is just.....

    Weird.
  35. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    4,833
    Matt Savoie is one of many skaters who were unlucky in that their talents and skill set were not suited to the judging system during the time in which they competed; if he'd been a few years younger, he'd probably have done much better. He's not unique in this - there are skaters now who would have done better under 6.0, skaters of the past who never had a chance because of figures, 6.0 skaters who would have flourished under the IJS, and so on.

    That is one of the classic blunders, or at least it should be: an opinion is not a fact and cannot be proven or disproven.
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  36. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,482
    Aha, PrincessLeppard, one person's weird is another person's nutty conspiracies. But, oh well, none of that has anything at all to do with Matt Savoie.

    When I first saw this thread title, like Sylvia I recalled that much of this territory has already been tread in the Matt Savoie tribute thread. Lots of threads and retreads, not to mention gushing, judgments and nutty claims of conspiracy theories on FSU. ;) In any case, I didn't plan to post in this thread about my love for Matt's skating, but I suppose the best laid intentions get mislaid in the off-season. :lol:


    Oh well, Zemgirl, fact or opinion, nutty blunder, whatever. Matt Savoie was for some of the reasons others have eloquently expressed under-appreciated during his competitive career.
  37. Jun Y

    Jun Y Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    Messages:
    1,070
    I can't help but smile at the irony that one of the most low-key, understated, introverted personality in figure skating can become such a polarizing figure. Perhaps it's just the off-season. :D

    In most of his career, Savoie lacked a certain kind of flair on and off the ice to draw the crowd. His programs are frequently a little too intellectual and too abstract to have broad appeal, and his lack of connection with the audience in general hurt the conventional standard for "presentation." The last season, 2005-06, was distinctive precisely because he connected more with the audience. Still, the nature of his personality and the style of his programs are such that he would never have a broad appeal.

    He competed in an era when consistently landing the most difficult jumps was highly valued. His technical consistency was hampered by the large number of transitions in his program content. If he had reduced the transitions, he might have been more consistent in the jumps and be viewed more favorably. But he didn't. It was his choice. He didn't seem to have any regrets. So I have none for him.
  38. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,689
    Whether his skating "projected" enough to suit the judges, or some posters; it was still a privilege to watch his programs, and follow his career.
  39. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,482
    I doubt it's Matt Savoie or his skating that anyone finds polarizing. Methinks my mention of Patrick Chan in this thread in any context, as well as perhaps my "gushing" over Matt has raised a few hackles of some sitting astride their own high horses. :p


    Thanks, JunY. I respect your thoughtful viewpoints, and I agree with much of what you've said about Matt and his career. However, I differ somewhat in that I think he had his own kind of elegant albeit introspective flair. I also think that he did give some very wonderful and crowd-pleasing performances, so I think his appeal was larger than you suggest. But sure, he didn't have an out-sized personality that yelled, "Look at me, aren't I great!" In the tribute thread there are links to interesting articles about Matt and his relationship with his coaching team, and their efforts to help him overcome his shyness, self-doubt and rigid points of view about what he could and could not do on the ice. I really don't feel that his love of transitions necessarily was the factor that presented any great difficulty for him during competitions. According to Tom Dickson, Matt loved incorporating and performing unique transitions in his programs. Like many skaters, Matt apparently struggled with overcoming performance anxiety. It's never easy to consistently perform difficult technique perfectly. As has been said before, figure skating is not for sissies. It's an extremely difficult sport mentally and physically. That's why the consistency of Michelle Kwan throughout her career is so astounding and uncommon.

    Re Matt Savoie's career, IMHO, it was probably more that as usual, the U.S. men's field was loaded with talent and Matt was just unlucky perhaps in missing out on being the hot skater that USFS preferred to heavily back politically. (He in fact may feel lucky in some ways that he was not considered the "hot skater" by USFS. Certainly, Matt was always described as "a skater's skater," so apparently his peers always held him in high esteem.) Also, I read that Matt did not follow suggestions to ditch his long time coach and train with well-established coaches in more high profile locations such as Colorado Springs or California. I admire Matt for staying loyal to his coach and still finding a way to ultimately overcome his shyness and to achieve his goals without being considered the star U.S. skater. His confidence and consistency did improve as he accepted the advice of Tom Dickson and Kathy Johnson re believing in his talent and allowing himself to release his shyness in performance and express a different character/ aspect of himself through the music.

    I'm not saying I'm right or you're wrong. It's just my take, and so many different factors and levels of perception are involved in any case.
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  40. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    25,850
    Matt and Ryan Jahnke...interesting US males to watch.