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Jozef Sabovčík

Jozef Sabovčík
Personal information
Country represented Czechoslovakia
Born (1963-12-04) 4 December 1963 (age 52)
Bratislava, Czechoslovakia
Former coach Agnesa Búřilová, Hilda Múdra, Lojkovičová, Anderlová
Began skating 1969/1970
Retired 1986
Olympic medal record
Men's figure skating
Competitor for 23x15px Czechoslovakia
Bronze medal – third place 1984 Sarajevo Singles

Jozef (Jumping Joe) Sabovčík (born 4 December 1963) is a Slovak figure skater who competed representing Czechoslovakia. He is the 1984 Olympic bronze medalist, a two-time European champion (1985 and 1986), and a six-time national champion of Czechoslovakia.

Personal life

Sabovčík was born on 4 December 1963 in Bratislava.[1] His mother, Alexandra, was a ballerina of Czech descent, and his father, Jozef, a dancer and choreographer of Slovak descent.[2][3][4] He is Catholic,[2][5] speaks five languages (Slovak, Czech, English, Russian and German),[6] and has dual Slovak and Canadian citizenship.[7][5] In 2005, he stated that he did not agree with the dissolution of Czechoslovakia and still felt Czechoslovak.[5] His first marriage was to Canadian champion Tracey Wainman, with whom he has a son named Blade, and his second marriage is to Jennifer Verili, with whom he has a son named Jozef Jaden.[6] They live in Bountiful, Utah.


Sabovčík began skating when he was six years old.[7] His main coach was Agnesa Búřilová but he also worked with Anderlová, Lojkovičová, and Hilda Múdra.[3][8] His choreographer was Frantisek Blazak.[4]

Sabovčík won bronze at the 1981 Skate Canada International and 1982 Skate America. He was the silver medalist at the 1983 European Championships. Sabovčík had knee effusion before the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.[9] He won the bronze medal behind Scott Hamilton and Brian Orser.[10]

Sabovčík became a two-time European champion with wins in 1985 and 1986. He also won 1985 Skate Canada International and Skate America. Sabovčík landed a quad toe loop at the 1986 European Championships.[3] It was approved at the time as the first quad in competition but a few weeks later ruled invalid because of an alleged touchdown with his free foot.[11]

Despite a knee injury, he had to compete at the 1986 World Championships 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."[7] Having undergone three knee operations, he retired from competition in 1986.[3]

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.[7] "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."[7] 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."[7]


Some of his programs were to the following music: Trapped by Bruce Springsteen, Alone You Breathe by Savatage,[3] and In Loving Memory by Alter Bridge.


Event 1975–76 1978–79 1979–80 1980–81 1981–82 1982–83 1983–84 1984–85 1985–86
Olympics 3rd
Worlds 19th 16th 12th 16th 6th 4th 4th 6th
Europeans 17th 9th 5th 8th 2nd 4th 1st 1st
Skate America 3rd 1st
Skate Canada 3rd 1st
NHK Trophy WD 4th WD
Prague Skate 3rd 1st 1st
International: Junior
Junior Worlds 10th
Czechoslovak 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
Slovak* 1st
*Sub-national level; WD = Withdrew


  1. ^ "Register olympionikov zo Slovenska" [List of Olympians from Slovakia] (PDF) (in Slovak). Slovak Olympic Committee. p. 28. 
  2. ^ a b "Sabovčík zůstal rebelem i v mormonském městě" [Sabovčík, a rebel in a Mormon city]. Mladá fronta DNES (in Czech). 11 February 2002. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Šimo, Marián (4 December 2013). "Sabovčík má päťdesiat: Vek je len číslo, moje srdce je stále mladé" [Sabovčík turns 50: Age is just a number, my heart is still young]. Pravda (Slovakia) (in Slovak). 
  4. ^ a b "Jozef Sabovcik" (in German). 
  5. ^ a b c "Jsem Čechoslovák. Chlap. A rocker!" [I am Czechoslovak]. Mladá fronta DNES (in Czech). 6 October 2005. 
  6. ^ a b Boronkayová, Felícia (2011). "Jumping Joe: Sabovčík je pyšný na synov a hľadá nové talenty" [Jumping Joe: Sabovčík is proud of sons and looking for new talent]. Život (Slovakia) (in Slovak). 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Jozef Sabovcik: Online Interview". GoldenSkate. 2 February 2003. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. 
  8. ^ "Jumping Joe oslavuje. A stále má dve svetové prvenstvá". News Agency of the Slovak Republic (in Slovak) ( 4 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Medaila mi zmenila kariéru. Aj život" [Career-changing medals]. (in Slovak). 7 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Hloch, Jan (21 April 2008). "Světové krasobruslařské hvězdy nadchly Prahu" [World skating stars in Prague] (in Czech). Czech Radio. Retrieved 28 April 2010. Fantastickou atmosféru vyprodané haly si plnými doušky vychutnával i bronzový medailista z OH v Sarajevu a mistr Evropy Jozef Sabovčík. 
  11. ^ "The quad: Skating's evolution is for more revolution". CBS Sports. 2 December 1999. Archived from the original on 29 January 2012. 
  • Sabovcik, Jozef. Jumpin' Joe: The Jozef Sabovcik Story. 1998.


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