1980sCBSFigure SkatingHighlightsJohn TeshScott HamiltonSports Saturday / SundayWorld Championships

Figure Skating – 1986 – World Championship Mens Long Program – CZK Josef Sabovcik – With John Tesh

CZK Josef Sabovčík began skating when he was six years old…..with his main coach being Agnesa Búřilová….but he also worked with Anderlová, Lojkovičová and Hilda Múdra…..and his choreographer was Frantisek Blazak.  Sabovčík won bronze at the 1981 Skate Canada International and 1982 Skate America…..and he was the silver medalist at the 1983 European Championships…..but suffered a knee effusion before the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics….where he won the bronze medal behind USA Scott Hamilton and CAN Brian Orser.  Sabovčík became a two-time European champion with wins in 1985 and 1986…..while winning the 1985 Skate Canada International and Skate America.

Sabovčík was known as Jumping Joe…..who landed a quad toe loop at the 1986 European Championships…..which was approved at the time as the first quad in competition….but was ruled invalid a few weeks later because of an alleged touchdown with his free foot. 

Despite a knee injury, he had to compete at the 1986 World Championships….as seen in this video herewith….because his federation did not believe he was really injured…..when he said, “It was the hardest 4½ minutes of my skating career, knowing that I had to finish, but could hardly walk, let alone skate.” ….so, having undergone three knee operations, he retired from competition in 1986.  

Obviously “Jumping Joe” was known for his jumping ability and later turned it into a lucrative professional career…..as he is known for an excellent tuck Axel…..saying, “Sometimes there is beauty in simplicity and I think an open Axel is very beautiful. A tuck Axel is basically the same thing, but it has a little more edge to it, which is great for me, because I can use it with my rock numbers. If you noticed in my slower, quieter programs I always do an open Axel as it’s better suited for that kind of music.”  He was disappointed by the loss of compulsory figures, saying, “In my opinion, the quality of skating itself (not jumping) has gone down. Figures taught how to use edges, like Robin Cousins and Brian Boitano still do, that with a couple of pushes they can get across the whole rink, you don’t see that with the new skaters.”

Josef Sabovčík coaches skating at the Bountiful Recreation Center in Utah.

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