Jozef (Jumping Joe) Sabovčík is a Slovak figure skater…..who competed representing Czechoslovakia…. when he was the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympic bronze medalist in the men’s competition….while being a two-time European champion in 1985 and 1986…..and a six-time Czechoslovak national champion…..whereas his quad toe loop at the 1986 European Championships was originally approved as the first quad jump landed in competition.
Sabovčík began skating when he was six years old….when his main coach was Agnesa Búřilová….but he also worked with Anderlová, Lojkovičová, and Hilda Múdra….while his choreographer was Frantisek Blazak. Sabovčík won bronze at the 1981 Skate Canada International and 1982 Skate America….plus he was the silver medalist at the 1983 European Championships…..while having had knee effusion before the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo…..where he won the bronze medal behind Scott Hamilton and Brian Orser.
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. 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.” Having undergone three knee operations, he retired from competition in 1986.
Nicknamed “Jumping Joe”, Sabovčík was known for his jumping ability and later turned it into a lucrative professional career. He is known for an excellent tuck Axel. “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.”