The wonderful Sandy Lenz
One of the most underrated and underappreciated skaters ever. I love to watch her old programs despite that she only made it to a World level competition once and placed 9th:
Unfortunately she wasnt strong in compulsory figures, never fully mastered a sound triple in an era they were starting to become prominent (although most top skaters had only 1 or 2 of the toe and salchow at most), and was a relatively late bloomer for the time who only emerged on the U.S senior scene at 18, so competively speaking had no real hope. It doesnt take away from the enjoyment value of her programs though.
I'm so embarrassed that I don't know her. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought she is Hamill from a distance, especially with the precise posture and back. With such a great spiral (before spiral extensions were expected to be sky-high) that covers a big circle, I would have thought she is a much better compulsory skater than she was ranked. But then again, compulsory figures rankings were revealed to be as political and corrupt as the judging in the free skating. Tiffany Chin mentioned that at one competition her compulsories weren't that great but they were higher than before, because she was then becoming more favored.
Originally Posted by pangtongfan
I am SO delighted to see this thread. I truly admired her skating. The programs that she delivered, the classy way in which she presented herself and the "risks" she took (skating to more 'popular' music selections) during the Olympics (1980 in Lake Placid) were so refreshing in my book.
Her layback was absolutely in league with the best. She really understood in general how to hold an edge or position. The closing of her long program during the Olympics was a simple elegant extended spiral. This move went perfectly with the music. The construction of her program was also relatively unique, starting with a moody but soothing slow section, and closing with a similarly reflective slow section.
Toller Cranston described her soft jump landings as if someone were "landing in a field of butter"
Her hometown was I believe the same (or home club) as Janet Lynn's. That shared lineage (for lack of better word) comes through in her skating skills in my opinion.
Thanks so much, PTFan, for unearthing this treasure! I had forgotten about Sandy Lenz, and she deserves wider recognition. I'm glad that she got the chance to skate on Olympic ice.
I am thrilled to see there are others who love the skating of the relatively unknown (to most) Sandy Lenz as well. I can thank youtube for introducing her to me as I stumbled upon one of her skating programs by chance 5 years ago (I wasnt even alive during her skating career) and was amazed how of the sheer enjoyment level, innovativeness, quality, and interest of her skating. I loved all her programs. I especialy loved how she always tried interest things, and yet she was still beautiful and smooth in how she did them, and her elements were all of very high quality too.
I think she and Janet trained with the same coach. I'm sure someone knows for sure.
Originally Posted by lcd
Yes they both trained at the Wagon Wheel, or atleast Sandy did as well growing up. The Wagon Wheel rink burned down in a fire sometime before the 1980 Olympics though and Sandy moved to train with Evy Scotvold. The Wagon Wheel had a history of producing beautiful skaters with Sandy Lenz, Kathy Malmberg, and of course the famous Janet Lynn.
Correct. The coach who helped set their technique in place was Slavka Kohout Button, best known as Janet Lynn's coach.
Originally Posted by pangtongfan
More contemporary skaters that Kohout Button worked with include Mark Mitchell as well as Maia and Alex Shibutani. Soft knees, strong skating skills and pleasing positions are common to them all.
Wonderful to hear that Lenz was a Slavka Kohout Button skater--and then to go to the Scotvolds, who also seem to have produced very elegant, technically polished skaters (notably Nancy Kerrigan and Paul Wylie; Wylie's extensions and positions were to die for).
Finding Lenz on YouTube underlines why I refer to that site as YouTube University. I have unearthed many treasures on there both in skating and in classical music, but no one person can find them all. That's why a site like GS is so important, because people who find wonderful but obscure skaters (of the past or present) can alert the rest of us.