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Thread: Shawn Sawyer and his place in men's figure skating history

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    Shawn Sawyer and his place in men's figure skating history

    I could be wrong about this, but I do think Shawn Sawyer is the only male skater in recent history who has won a free skate at an international competition without a quad attempt, a fully rotated 3-Axel OR even a 2nd 3-lutz! How COOL is that??? Pulling off a Jeff Buttle is already quite special, but pulling off a Shawn Sawyer is TRULY unique!!!

    For those of you who are figure skating history buffs, when was the last time a man won a long program on the world scene with Shawn's SC jump content? I'm DYING to know!

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    He might also be the only skater to win lp and still finish 5th.

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    Quote Originally Posted by siberia82 View Post
    I could be wrong about this, but I do think Shawn Sawyer is the only male skater in recent history who has won a free skate at an international competition without a quad attempt, a fully rotated 3-Axel OR even a 2nd 3-lutz! How COOL is that??? Pulling off a Jeff Buttle is already quite special, but pulling off a Shawn Sawyer is TRULY unique!!!

    For those of you who are figure skating history buffs, when was the last time a man won a long program on the world scene with Shawn's SC jump content? I'm DYING to know!
    Yes, Shawn is an awesome artistic skater. I think Toller Cranston - who incidentally more or less discovered Shawn - won the Free Skating portion of the Worlds a couple of times, and the 1976 Olympics - but was marked down in the figures portion so had to settle for the bronze.

    Here is some info on Toller:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toller_Cranston

    I am a real Shawn Sawyer fan. He skates much like Toller and Jeff - from the heart.

    Great question.

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    I am totally happy for him and he should be really proud that all of his elements except for the 3A<'s in SP and LP and 2Lz in his SP got plus GOE. He also got level 4 on all of his spins and level 3 on three of his steps in SP and LP!

    I totally understand there is no "if," "would have," and "might have" in competitions. But please forgive me for saying if...., , he had not tried 3As, he would have been at least on the podium or might have even gotten the silver. The score was pretty close despite that he lost about 5 points on his GOE for his downgraded 3As in SP and LP. He was capble of getting +1.0 on his regular 2A as he did in his LP. So he could have scored 7 points higher to make up the about 6 point difference with Bradley.

    Thank you for reading my mental excercise, but my point is that he seems capable of getting on the podium in future. I would imagine that this success would help him boost his confidence and motivation in this pre-Olympic season as well.

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    His long program is one of my favorites. Mind-boggling entrances into triple jumps. Having said that, I doubt he can advance further internationally with no 3A and only one 3lutz in the program.

    Patrick Chan seems to be following his footsteps. Both are artistic skaters, but technically, sort of iffy. Does Chan also only have one lutz in lp?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiercemao View Post
    His long program is one of my favorites. Mind-boggling entrances into triple jumps. Having said that, I doubt he can advance further internationally with no 3A and only one 3lutz in the program.

    Patrick Chan seems to be following his footsteps. Both are artistic skaters, but technically, sort of iffy. Does Chan also only have one lutz in lp?
    Hope Patrick gets his 3A consistent! He had two lutzs in LP, but singled one of them. But the one he landed received +1.4 GOE (Shawn also received plus 1.0 on his lutz that he landed).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrlmy View Post
    He might also be the only skater to win lp and still finish 5th.
    Someone on FSU pointed out that Poykio won the FS at 04 Skate America and placed 5th overall.

    Although no one seems 100% certain since it's relatively difficult to find older figure skating footage, a poster did suggest that the 1983 Worlds and the 1984 Skate Canada International are the most likely candidiates for the last time a man won a free skate with Shawn's SC jump content. Obviously I can't expect her to remember exactly the jump layout of those two long programs , but I guess it's safe to say that it's been about a quarter of a century!

    I think we can all be fairly certain that this will probably NEVER happen again in men's figure skating, so I feel very fortunate to have been part of this VERY unusual fluke occurence in men's figure skating history.
    Last edited by siberia82; 11-07-2008 at 06:29 PM.

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    What also makes it so interesting, but is not so easy to put in Guinness World Records, is that his win was greeted with universal acclaim.

    Normally when somebody wins with low technical content there is an outcry. But it seems that everybody recognized how special his skate and program were despite the low jump value. Now THAT is amazing.

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    Could he be the most flexible male skater in history? That spiral position is so much better than the majority of female skaters, isn't it?

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    Two other people on FSU have confirmed that the last time a male skater won the free skate at a major event with nothing more difficult than a single 3-lutz in his jump arsenal was Scott Hamilton at the 1983 Worlds. (I wasn't even 3 months old at the time!) GO SHAWN!!!!! What he achieved at SC was the figure skating equivalent of winning the lottery. I honestly believe he had a MUCH better chance of being struck by lightning!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ladskater View Post
    I think Toller Cranston - who incidentally more or less discovered Shawn.
    Kurt Browning mentioned on the SA commentary that his nickname for Shawn is "Tiny Toller" (which is very cute not only because Shawn has some of Toller's moves, but he IS short! )

    Quote Originally Posted by fiercemao View Post
    Patrick Chan seems to be following his footsteps. Both are artistic skaters, but technically, sort of iffy.
    Jeff Buttle got the ball rolling with his quadless world championship title, and both Chan and Sawyer added fuel to the fire at SC by winning the gold medal and the free skate respectively. It seems that artistically gifted, but quadless (and sometimes 3-Axel-less!) Canadian men are hijacking the sport!

    Btw, does anyone know when was the last time a male skater won an international competition without a quad attempt or a clean 3-Axel (albeit fully rotated)? I'm just curious about Patrick's place in history. No one has yet replied to me on FSU (but maybe that's because I ask too many obscure questions ).

    And before anyone gets snarky and accuse our guys of pushing figure skating "backwards" in terms of jumps, Canada does own the quad again thanks to Kevin "Quad Machine" Reynolds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    What also makes it so interesting, but is not so easy to put in Guinness World Records, is that his win was greeted with universal acclaim.

    Normally when somebody wins with low technical content there is an outcry. But it seems that everybody recognized how special his skate and program were despite the low jump value. Now THAT is amazing.
    Brian Joubert hasn't complained yet (at least not that I know of) about SC, so I guess you're right!

    Quote Originally Posted by hongligl View Post
    Could he be the most flexible male skater in history? That spiral position is so much better than the majority of female skaters, isn't it?
    Yeah, I think so. I know some women would die to be able to perform his moves as well as he does! Shawn's ludicrous flexibility for a men's singles skater should be mentioned in the Guiness Book of World Records. The way he can stretch his body is beyond comprehension ; he's practically a rubber band!

    "Amadeus" is a masterpiece, and I think most of us agree that it's the most gorgeous program we've seen of any discipline during 2008/2009 season. I wonder if in the future men's figure skating fans will remember it without the benefit of a World or Olympic medal attached to it.

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    The problem of male skater without quad is that he has to rely on other people's meltdown to win a major competition and get the title. So personally I think it is not so smart to be too "motivated" , or should I say "demotivated" if that's a word, by Jeff's victory last year. If Patrick does not work on quad and his 3A, I would be really disapointed no matter how great his skating skill is. He could win but the win wouldn't be as exciting as when he wins with superb technical content.

    Don't get me wrong, I love artistic skaters and skaters with beautiful deep edges and all the skating skills. But to win a major title that would not be enough if everybody else skates well to.

    This appears off topic but I think the same applies to Shaw.
    Last edited by hongligl; 11-09-2008 at 05:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hongligl View Post
    The problem of male skater without quad is that he has to rely on other people's meltdown to win a major competition and get the title.
    It's true that a skater like Shawn will never be in full control of his destiny without at least a clean 3-Axel. He can only succeed when enough of his rivals falter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hongligl View Post
    Could he be the most flexible male skater in history? That spiral position is so much better than the majority of female skaters, isn't it?
    ITA. Shawn not only is flexible, but also so fully streches his legs, including the back of his knees, which I think makes his lines more beautiful and impeccable than the majority of female skaters.

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    I got into a minor debate with a few people on FSU who were quite critical of Shawn's "weak" athletic skills, and I thought I would share with you all my counterargument:

    "Shawn won the SC free skate due to the strength of his LP TES (which was the highest of all the guys), not his PCS (which was only the 4th highest). Very Buttle-like circa 2008 Worlds. Shawn's SC LP TES was 0.71 points higher than Bradley's, a mere 0.72 less than Kozuka at SA and 1.65 more than Reynolds. So even without a quad attempt, a fully rotated 3-Axel OR a 2nd 3-lutz, Shawn was still the most "technical" skater for the LP at SC and scored the 2nd highest LP TES of the GP series at that point."
    Last edited by siberia82; 11-14-2008 at 09:42 PM.

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    Ah Shawn!!!

    I finally got to see Shawn's long program at Skate Canada. It's awesome! I can see why he won the free skating portion. Someone mentioned that the technical guys may be upset that Shawn won the day so to speak with his program - which was incidentlally choreographed by David Wilson. This program speaks volumes. It really showcases Shawn's wonderful flowing deep edges and amazing flexibility. Kudos to David Wilson once again for his brilliant choreography and ability to bring out the best in a skater.

    Could Shawn be our next Jeff Buttle? Once again - who cares about the quad when there is such quality skating. Toller Cranston recognized Shawn's talent and featured him in one of his shows, I am sure Toller would agree with the judges if he had been there this last week to watch Shawn.

    And no, I don't agree with the statement that a skater like Shawn depends on the melt down of other skaters because he lacks the quad. Shawn is in a class of his own. Don' t forget a program does not only consist of jumps.....


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