Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Two Underrated American Classics: Matt Savoie and Ryan Jahnke

Two of the greatest underrated U.S. figure skating competitors are Matt Savoie and Ryan Jahnke. Matt is a 3-time U.S. bronze medalist, and a 4-time U.S. pewter medalist. He is a 4-time Grand Prix medalist, including the bronze medalist at the 1999-2000 Grand Prix Final. Matt competed at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, where he finished an impressive 7th.

The Hallmark of Matt's skating was that he performed old moves in new ways. His choreography was fresh and nuanced. Matt didn't emote much in an extraverted way, but he was able to reach many fans over the years through the effect of his superior skating skills. Matt is what skaters call "a skaters skater," which means that he didn't have a weakness. Matt always made impeccable musical and artistic choices and became known for his understated beauty. In a time when big skating personalities and names, such as Todd Eldredge, Michael Weiss, Timothy Goebel, Johnny Weir, and Evan Lysacek, ruled U.S. skating, Matt kept to himself and quietly did his job with class and consistency. Matt's hard work and tenacity paid off in 2006 when he nabbed the third spot on the Olympic team with a masterful program to "The Mission."

Ryan Jahnke was not as successful in national and international events as Savoie; however, he still had a long career with ample international experiences and had a lasting effect on his fans, who will always remember the warmth of his performances and the strength of his overall presentation. In 2003 Ryan finished 2nd in the freeskate at the U.S. Championships, finishing third overall. He earned a spot on the World Championships in Washington D.C. The following year, he finished 4th at the U.S. Championships with, in my opinion, one of the best freeskates of the night that was more than worthy of a top-three finish. In the fall of 2004, Ryan and won a silver medal at Skate America and finished fourth at Skate Canada with an intricate and passionate freeskate to "Piano Concerto in A Minor," by Edvard Grieg. During one his fall events, Paul Wylie was commentating. He remarked that though Ryan didn't have some of the more difficult jumping passes, such as quadruples, like some of his other competitors, the passion, presentation, and flow that Ryan delivered in the choreographic elements of his freeskate was something that couldn't be taught. Ryan's skated is highlighted with classic extention and lines, 'Tano lutzes, and a heartfelt performance quality that his fans will not soon forget.

Thank you, Matt and Ryan, for giving you fans so many wonderful memories!!

The Best of Matt Savoie:

Skating to "Adagio for Strings," by Samuel Barber at the 2005 U.S. National Championships:

Two beautiful performances of "The Mission": At the 2006 Nationals and the 2006 Olympics:

An exhibition to "Solo Amore" by Duetto, skated at the 2005 Marshall's competition:

The Best of Ryan Jahnke:

"Cinderella" by Sergei Prokofiev at the 2003 World Championships qualifying round:

"Piano Concerto in A Minor" by Edvard Grieg from the 2004 Skate America:

Brazilian music medley from the 2004 U.S. National Championships:

"That's Life" by Frank Sinatra at the 2003 U.S. Championships Exhibitions:

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