Shawn Sawyer

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Shawn Sawyer
Shawn Sawyer Spiral - 2006 Skate Canada.jpg
Sawyer in 2006.
Personal information
Country represented  Canada
Born (1985-01-14) January 14, 1985 (age 32)
Edmundston, New Brunswick
Residence Sainte-Julie, Quebec
Height 1.64 m (5 ft 5 in)
Former coach Annie Barabé, Sophie Richard, Yvan Desjardins, Gordon Forbes, Alexei Chetverukhin
Former choreographer David Wilson, Brian Orser
Skating club C.P.A. Varennes
Retired 2011
ISU personal best scores
Combined total 206.56
2008 Skate Canada
Short program 70.15
2010 NHK Trophy
Free skate 143.98
2010 Four Continents

Shawn Sawyer (born January 14, 1985 in Edmundston, New Brunswick) is a Canadian figure skater. He is the 2011 Canadian national silver medalist and a three-time (2005-2006 & 2008) Canadian national bronze medalist. He represented Canada in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy finishing 12th overall. Unlike most skaters, Sawyer is a clockwise spinner.


Early career[edit]

Shawn Sawyer was born in Edmundston, New Brunswick. He started skating at age nine.[1] Even as a young skater, he was known for his artistry and his spirals. This attracted the attention of Olympic bronze medalist Toller Cranston. Cranston was about to retire from show skating and he envisioned a final tribute show in which he and other skaters passed down their knowledge of skating and life lessons to a young skater. This skater was Shawn Sawyer.[2] Cranston remains a mentor to Sawyer.

In 1999, Sawyer won the bronze medal on the novice level at the Canada Winter Games,[3] skating with a bad cold.[4] The following year, he won the national novice title. He skated on the Junior Grand Prix the following season and won the bronze medal at his first event. His fifth-place finish at his second event prevented him from qualifying for the JGP Final. At Nationals, he placed 4th in the junior level. On the JGP the following season, he qualified for the Junior Grand Prix Final, where he placed fifth, and then won the national Junior title. This earned him a trip to the 2002 Junior Worlds, where he placed 11th after performing an entirely new long program.[1]

Sawyer, already very flexible, had been working on a Biellmann spin. As a junior skater, Sawyer trained at the Minto Skating Club in Ottawa under coach Alexei Tchetveroukin. He had been training the Biellmann since learning in New Brunswick at age twelve, and he performed it in exhibition at Nationals in 2002 after winning the junior title.[1]

Later, Sawyer changed coaches to Gordon Forbes. In his third season as a junior internationally, he won his second JGP event, but an 8th-place finish prevented him from returning to the Final. In his senior debut at Nationals, he placed 6th, a promising finish, and then repeated that placement at the World Junior Championships.

The 2003-2004 season would be Sawyer's last as a junior. He dropped to ninth place at nationals and tenth at Junior Worlds. Sawyer then went senior internationally. Following this season, he changed coaches to Annie Barabe and Sophie Richard and moved to Drummondville, Quebec.[5]

Senior career[edit]

At the 2004 Cup of Russia, Sawyer's first senior international event, he placed just off the podium. He placed ninth at the 2004 NHK Trophy. At nationals, he won the bronze medal, earning him a trip to the 2005 Four Continents. His podium finish did not earn him a spot to Worlds because Canada had only two spots to the 2005 World Championships.

In the 2005-2006 season, the Olympic season, Sawyer placed in the middle of the fields in his two Grand Prix events. But he held on to the bronze position at Nationals, earning him a spot to the Olympics and to Worlds. He placed 12th at the Olympics and 21st at Worlds, held in Calgary.

In the 2006-2007 season, Sawyer placed just off the podium at the Skate Canada competition. Sawyer then placed 8th at the Grand Prix event in Paris. At Nationals, he was ahead after the short program, but a charismatic comeback performance by Emanuel Sandhu pushed Sawyer down to 4th, depriving him of a spot to Four Continents and Worlds.

In the 2007-2008 season, Sawyer placed 7th at his first event, the 2007 Cup of China. At his second event, the 2007 NHK Trophy, he placed 9th. At the 2008 Canadian Championships, he won his third bronze medal at that competition. This earned him a trip to the 2008 Four Continents, where he placed 9th.

The 2008-2009 season started off with two back to back competitions for Sawyer. He opened the season at 2008 Skate America where he placed fifth and then continued to 2008 Skate Canada International where he again placed fifth. Even though his overall placement was fifth, he did win the free skate with a score of 142.36.

In 2009-2010, Sawyer was awarded the silver medal at Skate America, but placed fourth at Canadian Nationals, narrowly missing a trip to the 2010 Olympic Games by two spots.

In 2010-2011, he won the silver at the 2011 Canadian Championships and was named to the team for the World Championships. After the Japan earthquake, the event was postponed by a month and now coincided with his commitment to Stars on Ice.[6] Sawyer decided to withdraw from the World Championships and was replaced by Kevin Reynolds.[7] He has ended his competitive career.[8]

Signature moves[edit]

Sawyer performs a Y-spin in competition
Sawyer performs a cantilever in exhibition

Sawyer is well known for his spins and his spiral positions, which show great flexibility. Sawyer is one of few male skaters to perform spirals in their programs, because under Code of Points, men do not get any credit for spiral sequences. Sawyer's arabesque, I and Y positions in spins and spirals are his trademark moves.


Season Short program Free skating Exhibition
2010–2011 Assassin's Tango
by John Powell
Alice in Wonderland
by Danny Elfman
Uprising by Muse
2009–2010 Assassin's Tango
by John Powell
Selections from Amadeus
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
2008–2009 Another Brick in the Wall
by Pink Floyd
performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Selections from Amadeus
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
2007–2008 Another Brick in the Wall
by Pink Floyd
performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Moments in Love
by Art of Noise
Tainted Love
by Sum 41
2006–2007 Excerpt from Tune in Tomorrow
by Wynton Marsalis
Moments in Love
by Art of Noise
It's My Life
by Bon Jovi
by Michael Bublé
2005–2006 Libertango Warsaw Concerto It's My Life
by Bon Jovi
2004–2005 Libertango Cirque du Soleil
2003–2004 Into The Night Cello Concerto Save Yourself and Sweet Dreams
2002–2003 Irma
by Rene Dupere
Selections from Spartacus How much is the fish?
2001–2002 How much is the fish?

Competitive highlights[edit]

Event 1999–00 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11
Olympic Winter Games 12th
World Championships 21st
Four Continents Championships 6th 9th 7th 10th
World Junior Championships 11th 6th 10th
Canadian Championships 1st N. 4th J. 1st J. 6th 9th 3rd 3rd 4th 3rd 5th 4th 2nd
Cup of Russia 4th 7th 8th
Skate America 5th 2nd 8th
Skate Canada International 6th 4th 5th
Cup of China 7th
Trophée Eric Bompard 8th
NHK Trophy 9th 9th 5th
ISU Junior Grand Prix Final 5th
Junior Grand Prix, Sofia 1st 3rd
Junior Grand Prix, Slovenia 3rd
Junior Grand Prix, Belgrade 1st
Junior Grand Prix, Canada 8th
Junior Grand Prix, Japan 3rd
Junior Grand Prix, China 5th
Junior Grand Prix, Mexico 3rd
Eastern Challenge 1st J.
Atlantic Divisionals 1st N.
  • N = Novice level; J = Junior level


  1. ^ a b c Mittan, Barry (September 19, 2002). "Canada's Sawyer Gets Jump on Competition for 2003". GoldenSkate. Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  2. ^ Cranston, Toller; Martha Lowder Kimball (2000). When Hell Freezes Over: Should I Bring My Skates?. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-2337-5. 
  3. ^ MacAfee, Michelle (March 4, 1999). "Young skater has performed with veterans". Canadian Press. Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  4. ^ Hooper, Barrett (March 5, 1999). "Skaters' silver tops medal haul; Bronze easy lift for Yessie". Telegraph-Journal. Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  5. ^ Brodie, Rob (October 17, 2004). "Top skating prospects on the move". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ Rutherford, Lynn (April 8, 2011). ""Mad Hatter" makes wise decision". Icenetwork. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  7. ^ Smith, Beverley (March 29, 2011). "Reynolds gets named to figure skating worlds team". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 29, 2011. 
  8. ^ Kwong, PJ (April 1, 2011). "Sawyer walks away from amateur career". CBC News. Retrieved April 1, 2011. 

External links[edit]