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The Matt Savoie Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by aemeraldrainc, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Sylvia

    Sylvia It's club comp. season!

    Thanks for saving/posting that Peoria Journal Star article, shine! I remember Kirk Wessler's excellent articles on Savoie during the 2005-06 Olympic season. (That was the earliest I recall seeing Kathy Johnson's name in a skating article.)
  2. shine

    shine Well-Known Member

    The outrage in the constant underscoring of Matt Savoie is really beyond words. It's unimaginable that this brilliant FS from 2002 Worlds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w872zjNfzY was placed as low as 11th (!!!!!!). I don't think there is ANYWAY that it could have been placed that low if it was performed under today's scoring system.
    The list goes on and on and it's probably better for me if I don't discuss them :lol:
    I have so much respect for a skater like him who still kept their motivation to go on after being trivialized year after year the way he has been.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  3. Plusdinfo

    Plusdinfo Active Member

    I wasn't in the States to enjoy his skating from 2004-2006, and I don't remember much coverage of him before, so my enjoyment of his skating is almost all after his career. I agree with all who think he was underscored, but that's skating: a judged sport! Instead of focusing on that, I'm grateful to be able to see his great programs again and again.

    Matt is certainly appreciated.
  4. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    OH MY GOD!!! I can't believe Matt's placement for that beautiful performance filled with difficult elements -- Gosh, a 3-axel out of a spread eagle! :swoon: Who, I ask can do that move? No one else I can think of in today's field, except maybe Jeremy Abbott, and Johnny Weir (if he really tried b/c he has a great 3-axel), also perhaps Dai and Kozuka, especially Dai b/c he always challenges himself; and Sasha Abt in his glory days; also perhaps Ross Miner, b/c he also has a great 3-axel as well as very good spread eagles.

    I don't think I saw Worlds in 2002, or else I just didn't see Matt's fp performance. Whenever I heard that Matt came in 11th at Worlds that year, I always thought that he had faltered somehow!!! Did he have a poor sp? What terrible judging! :mad: I can only guess that part of the scoring for Matt was based on the fact that he came in as the #3 U.S. guy... Ah yes, I checked and I see that Tim quad king Goebel came in second with a silver medal at 2002 Worlds and Michael Weiss was 6th. So, that's the answer: Matt was the odd man out b/c Tim and Michael were the more popular, favored U.S. guys -- so the U.S. Fed had no desire I suppose to politik on behalf of Matt for a better, more deserved placement. I like Tim and Michael and they are both wonderful skaters who contributed a great deal to U.S. skating, and they both continue to contribute to the sport and to skaters. However, once again what a shame. I think Matt's skating will be longer remembered and revered. Matt got caught betwixt and between the dawning of a new era in the scoring, the crowded U.S. men's field, and the damnable quad craze.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  5. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    I believe you "hit the nail on the head".
    USFS - indeed, few federations - will rarely "promote" their #3 entrant with TPTB.
    That may be why he was never able to advance beyond the top of the "second rank", despite the quality of his performances.
  6. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    Judge #2 was Joyce Burden.

    Her rankings for the second mark were:

    1st: Johnny Weir, 6.0
    2nd: Timothy Goebel, 5.9
    3rd: Evan Lysacek, 5.8
    4th: Michael Weiss, 5.5
    5th: Matthew Savoie, Derrick Delmore, Scott Smith, 5.1

    Judge #8 was Doug Williams.

    His rankings for the second mark were:

    1st: Johnny Weir, 5.9
    2nd: Evan Lysacek, 5.8
    3rd: Timothy Goebel, 5.7
    4th: Michael Weiss, 5.6
    5th: Braden Overett, Derrick Delmore, 5.5
    7th: Matthew Savoie, 5.4


    :rolleyes: :scream:

    I'd love to hear their explanation of how they arrived at those rankings and their general theory of how the 6.0 system was to be applied.
  7. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Wow, Vagabond :eek:

    Just looking at that scoring rundown from U.S. Nationals gives me heartburn! And actually, as I think about it, the relative craziness of those marks does make me realize more fully that the old 6.0 scoring, as constituted, was arcane and ridiculous. I still think the ISU should have focused sooner on reworking the judging system prior to the 2002 Olympic scandal. But once the scandal broke and they were “forced” to make changes, they should have been more judicious :)lol: fat chance). They could have tried to meld 6.0 numbering with a new approach to judging criteria, or at the least not cloaked the judges’ scoring identities in anonymity.

    In any case, although the current IJS provides us with explanations and opportunities for the skaters to be scored more visibly on their elements, the way GOE and PCS, and indeed most of the categories (IN, TR, CH, PE) are applied from skater to skater and from event to event, is still haphazard, politics-based, and often just as ridiculous as the way some judges applied 6.0 scoring. Now, tho’ I especially abhor the sky-is-the-limit point totals, and the mostly boring, double-take kiss ’n cry reactions.

    How can these 6.0 kiss ’n cry reactions be topped:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lH9mg_ZneA&feature=related Rudy G 1996 Nats

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKmUW8wPB0s MK 1996 Worlds

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWQSoIEAxns MK 2004 Nats

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIkfE30GPWU&feature=related JW 2004 Nats

    Yep, below is one of the rarer great kiss 'n cry reactions under IJS (mainly b/c T/T were not expected to medal). Also, we hear the commentators running down the judges’ scoring, so online viewers are made aware before the skaters realize, which IMO can’t compete with seeing a row of marks from the individual judges flash on the screen in real time:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61OOffoS0ZY Tran/ Takahashi 2012 Worlds fp

    IJS does allow more skaters to still have a chance for the podium after the sp. However, there are so many problems to be worked out under IJS, not the least being the way point-gathering strategies tend to be a detriment to artistic freedom in the fp. Also, the ugliness and overabundance of spins and slow as molasses revolutions being cranked out, plus the boring sameness of many skaters’ moves in programs.

    Sorry for the OT rant – I will get back to Matt!
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  8. Cheylana

    Cheylana Well-Known Member

    I remember attending an old cheesefest -- 2002 Crest Whitestrips in Auburn Hills, MI -- and Matt, despite a delightful program with seven triples -- came in dead last, behind very sloppy efforts from Takeshi Honda and Alexei Yagudin. At the time I figured I was an ignorant fan who couldn't see his faults, but in retrospect I think he was just grossly and perpetually undermarked.
  9. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Jeez, those results for Matt at that 2002 cheesefest certainly look as if they were predetermined. :rolleyes:

    Many feel that Matt would have been scored more fairly under IJS -- I suppose ideally and in terms of point values, he should probably have been. He did compete a couple of years under IJS anyway, didn't he? In any case, IJS in the long run may not have helped Matt either b/c of the dastardly politics, and the danged quad.

    ITA -- a very sad state of affairs. It is interesting, yet painful to look back at how and try to figure out why the beauty of Matt's skating was consistently under-rewarded.

    I double-checked the results at 2002 Nationals and 2002 Worlds. Actually, Matt took 4th place :mad: at Nats in 2002. Todd Eldredge was first that year (Goebel 2nd, and Weiss 3rd), but I guess Todd was injured b/c he did not attend Worlds, which gave Matt his first chance to compete at Worlds. So Matt not only had the disadvantage of competing at Worlds as the 3rd* U.S. guy (w/ no Fed support), he was also probably viewed as a relative unknown by international judges, which means being totally dumped on in the scoring, especially under 6.0. Again, what a shame!

    *(Ironically, as we all remember, Evan went to 2005 Worlds as the 3rd place U.S. guy and came out with a bronze medal, because he had a great deal of Fed support -- that's why he was at Worlds anyway, instead of Matt.)

    Looking at the 2002 Worlds performances from the U.S. guys, Matt clearly deserved a higher placement -- at least a bronze medal. IMO stylistically/ artistically Matt was even better than Yagudin and Goebel (except Matt didn't have the danged quad!) There was no way that Yagudin and Goebel were not going to go 1, 2 at Worlds that year, especially after their showing at the Olympics a month earlier. Plush was second at the Olympics, but did not attend Worlds. Another great under-rated skater at that Worlds was Sasha Abt (who I feel was in many ways a better skater than Yagudin and Plush -- but Abt didn't have the political support and he also was unlucky with injuries). If Plush had attended, Goebel would likely have been dropped to third. With Plush not there, Abt, despite skating very well (especially in the sp), was not the politically popular Russian that Plush and Yagudin were. As a result, the ISU seems to have felt they had to give a top guy from another country the opportunity -- so Takeshi Honda got the bronze over Abt. ETA: Actually, Honda was the top guy from the home country, since Worlds took place in Japan that year -- another reason why politics didn't work in Abt's favor.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7iRsCpvNuk M. Weiss 2002 Worlds fs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=2CTERlh1d10 Goebel 2002 Worlds fs & fluff feature
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfRJm3kIkPU&feature=endscreen Abt 2002 Worlds sp
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K2k4fQUIw4 Abt 2002 Worlds fp
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uutt5Hszqhc&feature=relmfu Yagudin 2002 Worlds fp
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w872zjNfzY Matt 2002 Worlds fp
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9SxUPJdVGc Honda 2002 Worlds fp

    The clips are also interesting in that Goebel performs a 3-axel out of a spread eagle (likely inspired by Matt), altho' Goebel doesn't do it quite as well, even despite the fact his blade got caught and he wobbled slightly before going into the 3-axel. I notice too that Weiss around this time had changed his style of skating, very likely once again due to the impact and influence of Matt's skating. I have to say that Matt truly deserved to be at least placed above Weiss at Nationals and Worlds (especially b/c Weiss altho' he often attempted a quad, never cleanly landed one). The quad is a huge factor during that period, unfortunately. Goebel's lightning quick ability to turn revolutions and land multiple quads is the main reason why he was able to move up so quickly in the U.S. senior rankings. To his credit, Goebel was a fighter -- and strangely after he lost his ability to consistently land quads, Goebel made strides in developing other aspects of his skating.

    For Matt, as someone indicated earlier, I suppose the fact that he stayed loyal to his first coach and did not take the advice to move away from home and train with a "top" coach, meant that TPTB dropped him off their politically relevant radar.

    BTW, is Matt's last name pronounced "Sa-vwah" or "Sa-voy"?
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  10. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    Should be "Sa-vwah." :swoon:
    Is "Sa-voy." :fragile:
  11. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Oy-vey (the pain!) :wuzrobbed

    Thanks Vagabond re the correct pronunciation. One of the Eurosport guys naturally voiced it the French way. I believe they too love Matt's skating.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  12. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

  13. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    OMG, I vaguely remember seeing this Marshalls Idol-style cheesefest, and being pissed at the clueless audience voting. I felt Matt and Johnny should have moved to the final round.

    But how great is it that Tim and Johnny clapped when Matt kept receiving the compliments and unanimous votes from the panel. :respec: Even Peter Carruthers had the sense to vote for Matt rather than who I thought he would go for: Weiss. Alas, the audience apparently loved Weiss' backflips and macho 'tude. I believe Johnny won overall in the end, but Matt would have deserved too I'm certain, if he'd had the chance to compete in the final round, like the panel voted. Not sure I understand why the audience's votes mattered more.

    Well, like Dick said, it was just for fun. But sadly, :( even for fun, Matt couldn't catch a break. Thanks for posting this trip down memory lane. At least Matt publicly received the praise he so deserved. I love the way Matt smiled at the compliments.

    Very noticeable too that Weiss did not clap along with Johnny and Tim in tribute to Matt's skating.
  14. shine

    shine Well-Known Member

    This is the same show at which Matt skated the number Solo Amore that I posted earlier. It was really a stunning performance. And yes! His smile :swoon: :swoon: It's like he doesn't believe he's that good and they are all showering him with unabashed praises. So nice to see his talent being recognized and praised like that. I loved Dick's comments and how much he adored Matt's skating. Matt truly was a skater with music in every inch of his bones.
  15. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    ^^ :respec:

    Thanks, shine. And thanks too for posting earlier the Solo Amore program that Matt skated at that Marshalls cheesefest, which mesmerized Dick, Peggy, and Peter! What fond memories of Matt ... :swoon:
  16. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

  17. Pretty Vegas

    Pretty Vegas Well-Known Member

    I love Matt and I had never seen that 2002 Worlds performance. That was amazing.
  18. Simone411

    Simone411 Clippy Loves Ashley, Michelle, Tara, and Sasha!

    Thanks for sharing this particular video. Kudos to Peggy, Peter, and Dick regarding their comments about Matt - well deserved, I might add.

    Thanks to everyone for the links to all the videos. It brings back a lot of great memories. Matt was truly one hell of a skater. :respec:
  19. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Thanks paskatefan, for clearing that up. :) Yes, I had forgotten that Todd decided not to go to Worlds after the 2002 Olympics. He indeed skated great at the Olympics, and I felt he too was overlooked in the scoring (again b/c of the blasted quad). Todd was a great jumper, and I believe he would have mastered the quad had it been a jump considered crucial earlier in his career, when he would have had more time to train it in an optimal and strategic way. In any event, Todd was close to mastering the quad and the quality of his other jumps was as good or better than all the other top contenders.
  20. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    HECK YEAH. Add me to the fangirl list. I have to say, though, I scarcely noticed Matt until the WOW of seeing his Mission LP at 2006 nationals (and I had watched little skating in the years prior to this--busy as a new mom and we didn't have cable TV). Totally, utterly fell in love with that program, and then pretty much everything else (thank you, YouTube and fsvids.com).

    I will say that the thing I notice from his earlier career is some lack of refinement, and a sense that he just didn't feel comfortable performing out there. He's said to be shy, and though his skating was great, I wanted him to ham it up some more, add some OOMPH to stuff, as he was missing that "look at me" quality. If he'd learned earlier in his career to "fake it" in the performance quality, he might have gotten better results (that plus the no-politik coaching situation, as has been mentioned). But his SP and LP 05-06 suited him to a T. Just the perfect vehicles, and perhaps at that point in his career he was more comfortable in front of an audience. I have watched both those programs I don't know how many times.

    (However: mergers and acquisitions?? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.)

    He's also totally robbed of recognition on the difficult jump entries front. I TOTALLY noticed the previously transition-free Lysacek copying some of his stuff a few years after Matt had retired. :rolleyes: I consider Jeremy the current torch-bearer of the Matt Savoie School of Difficult Entries.
  21. skatecat

    skatecat Lurker Extraordinaire

    ks1227 and (deleted member) like this.
  22. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    ^^ Yeah skatecat. I've watched Matt's 2005 Nats sp many many times and I'm always moved. As I mentioned earlier in this thread (where I also linked to this program), hearing Adagio for Strings, always reminds me of Matt's performance! Thanks for linking it yet again. :)

    :respec: Thanks for sharing LilJen. I agree that Matt and Jeremy are the Masters of "Difficult Entries." And I also feel that Johnny Weir is the Master of Gorgeous Exits!


    I also felt there was something indefinable lacking in Matt's very early performances. I always thought he was a great jumper, despite his having some inconsistencies at times (perhaps due to injuries, or nerves), but I too wasn't always as drawn to Matt in his early days. I was more drawn to Ryan Jahnke (altho' Ryan often struggled with some of his triples -- axel in particular). The Kirk Wessler article posted earlier in this thread for me sheds a great deal of light on Matt's personality. Apparently, Matt did struggle with opening himself up more on the ice. But here is an early Matt at 1999 Nationals (which I linked earlier in this thread). I was surprised, as it surely seems here that he was trying to "open up" and he also IMO seems to be "faking it," to little avail I suppose. ;)


    I get from the Wessler article that perhaps Matt's personality is not so much shy as it is withdrawn/ introverted. The way Wessler described Matt as being analytically and intellectually-oriented, Matt is probably a Myers-Briggs INTJ personality type: http://www.personalitypage.com/INTJ.html

    If that is the case, Matt is probably feeling quite happy and fulfilled as an attorney working on mergers and acquisitions. He certainly appears happy in the current photo (on his firm's website). I wonder if he continues to skate to stay fit and to express a different side of himself.

    The Wessler article further points out that the people around Matt tended to adhere to his superior intellect, but they were also determined to help him reach his goal of making the Olympics, and they knew he was having difficulty fully expressing himself on the ice. Enter Kathy Johnson who was able to "read" what Matt was all about and did not mince her words. She told him, "'I will, if I have to, drag you kicking and screaming to the next level, because you are that talented.' Johnson set about deconstructing every layer of Savoie's psychological defenses."

    Also, according to Wessler, "Moments before Savoie took the ice for his free skate at nationals, [his choreographer Tom] Dickson got in his face and asked, 'What are you going to do out there?'
    'I'm going to be a different person,' Savoie replied.
    Dickson calls that moment the turning point in Savoie's career."
  23. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    Great article in the "Where Are They Now?" series in this month's USFS magazine. Matt reflects on his career, what it's taught him, and similarities to his work now (nervous anticipation). And he's getting married this fall (he and his fiance met at Cornell). Best wishes!
  24. pinky166

    pinky166 #teamtrainwreck #teamdiva

    I love Savoie and miss him so much.
  25. YukiNieve

    YukiNieve Well-Known Member


    Yes, that article in May issue of Skating magazine is a great read. And he named SP at 2005 US Nats (the one that skatecat mentioned above) as his favorite program, saying that "I felt everything in that program felt the way it was supposed to feel."
  26. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Matt, many, many of us share your feelings about that program.
    Thank you!
  27. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

    Wonderful news! Congrats to Matt & his fiancee! :encore:
  28. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Oh, that's nice to hear! Does anyone have a link to the article? Thanks in advance.

    Cheers to Matt and his fiance! :cheer:
  29. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    I was happy to see the article in Skating Magazine. Matt seems happy, working as a lawyer for a good firm in Boston, engaged to be married. All fabulous.
  30. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    I'd love to see the article, also.
    A lifetime of happiness to Matt and his fiancee.