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Scott Hamilton
Scott-Hamilton-Golf.jpg
Hamilton performs during a Stars on Ice show, April 2002
Personal information
Country represented United States
Born August 28, 1958 (1958-08-28) (age 61)
Bowling Green, Ohio
Residence Franklin, Tennessee
Height 5ft 4in
Former coach Don Laws, Carlo Fassi, Pierre Brunet
Skating club Philadelphia SC & HS
Began skating age 13
Retired 1984

Scott Scovell Hamilton (born August 28, 1958) is a retired American figure skater and Olympic gold medalist. He won four consecutive U.S. championships (1981–84), four consecutive World Championships (1981–84), and a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.

His signature move is a backflip, a feat that few other figure skaters could perform and which is against U.S. Figure Skating and Olympic competition rules, but which he would include in his exhibition routines as an amateur to please the crowd and in his professional competition routines. He is also recognized for his innovative footwork sequences.

In retirement, he has been involved in charitable work and is the author of three books.

Childhood

Hamilton was born on August 28, 1958 in Toledo, Ohio. He was adopted at the age of six weeks by Dorothy (née McIntosh), a professor, and Ernest S. Hamilton, a professor of biology, and raised in Bowling Green, Ohio. He has two siblings, older sister Susan (his parents' biological daughter) and younger brother Steven (who was also adopted). He attended Kenwood Elementary School.

When Hamilton was two years old, he contracted a mysterious illness that caused him to stop growing. After numerous tests and several wrong diagnoses (including a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis that gave him just six months to live), the disease began to correct itself. His family physician sent him to Boston Children's Hospital to see a Dr. Shwachman. He was told the doctor had no idea what was wrong and to go home and stop the diets in order to live a normal life. Years later, it was determined that a congenital brain tumor was the root cause of his childhood illness. At the peak of his amateur career Hamilton weighed 108 pounds (49 kg) and was 5 feet 2.5 inches (1.59 m) tall, but eventually grew to a height of 5 feet 4 inches (1.63 m).

At age 13, Hamilton began training with Pierre Brunet, a former Olympic champion. In 1976, however, he was almost forced to quit skating because the cost of training was too high and he enrolled in college. However, Helen and Frank McLoraine stepped in to provide financial support for Hamilton to continue his training. Hamilton would later work with the McLoraines in continuing philanthropic support for figure skating. Hamilton attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio. The former First Street in Bowling Green was named Scott Hamilton Avenue in his honor.

Skating career

Scott-Hamilton-Stars-on-Ice
Hamilton's final performance on the Stars on Ice tour

In 1980, Hamilton finished third in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, earning him a place on the U.S. Olympic team. He finished in fifth place at the 1980 Winter Olympics, where he also had the honor of carrying the American flag in the opening ceremony. His breakthrough performance was in the 1981 U.S. Championships. He performed flawlessly and the audience began a standing ovation several seconds before the end of the performance. He never lost an amateur competition again. In 1981 he won gold in the World Figure Skating Championships. He won gold again in 1982 and 1983 at the U.S. and World Championships, and won the gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics. He won that year's World Championships and then turned professional in April 1984.

After turning professional, Hamilton toured with the Ice Capades for two years, and then created "Scott Hamilton's American Tour," which later was renamed Stars on Ice. He co-founded, co-produced and performed in Stars on Ice for 15 years before retiring from the tour in 2001 (though he still returns for occasional guest performances).

He has been awarded numerous skating honors, including being the first solo male figure skater to be awarded the Jacques Favart Award (in 1988). In 1990 he was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.

Skating commentator

Hamilton was a skating commentator for CBS television for many years, beginning in 1985. He has also worked for NBC television. In 2006 he was the host of the FOX television program Skating with Celebrities. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics International.

Awards and recognition

  • 1985 – Hamilton was presented the 1984 Most Courageous Athlete Award by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association.
  • 1993 - The Associated Press released results of a national sports study in which Hamilton ranked as one of the top eight most popular athletes in America, ranking far ahead of big-name sports stars such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Troy Aikman, Dan Marino, Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana, and Nolan Ryan.
  • 1996 - Hamilton was presented the United States Sports Academy's Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award in recognition of his courageous action in overcoming adversity to excel in sport.
  • 1996 - Hamilton received the Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award.

Television appearances

Hamilton voiced the dog dancing commentator on the King of the Hill episode "Dances with Dogs". He was also seen in the 2008 The Fairly OddParents episode "The Fairy Oddlympics" as Timmy Turner's co-host.

He appeared on the August 26, 2008 episode of Wanna Bet?, where he finished 2nd, losing to Bill Engvall. In 2009, he appeared in the second season of Celebrity Apprentice.

He made a small appearance on Roseanne as himself, participating in a mock linoleum skating competition credit sequence. He also made a brief appearance in the film Blades of Glory.

On March 8, 2010, Scott Hamilton: Return to the Ice premiered on the Bio Channel. The two-hour television special chronicled Hamilton's return to skating after battling cancer.

Author

In 2009, Hamilton wrote the book The Great Eight, which shared the secrets to his happiness and how he overcame numerous challenges and disappointments throughout his life. In 2018, he wrote the book Finish First: Winning Changes Everything (publisher: Thomas Nelson), about the value of competition.

Personal life

Family

On November 14, 2002, he married Tracie Robinson, a nutritionist. The couple have three sons, Aidan McIntosh Hamilton (born September 13, 2003), Maxx Thomas Hamilton (born January 21, 2008), and Jean Paul; and one daughter, Evelyne. They have a dog, Boogie. The family resides in Franklin, Tennessee.

Faith

Hamilton is a Christian and has said about his faith, "I understand that through a strong relationship with Jesus you can endure anything... God is there to guide you through the tough spots. God was there every single time, every single time."

Illnesses

In 1997, Hamilton had a much-publicized battle with testicular cancer. He made a return to skating after his treatment and his story was featured in magazines and on television. It was announced on November 12, 2004, that Hamilton had a benign brain tumor, which was treated at the Cleveland Clinic.

On June 23, 2010, Hamilton had brain surgery to prevent the recurrence of the benign tumor discovered in 2004. Called craniopharyngioma, the tumor could have caused blindness if left untreated. The surgery was successful. In November 2010, Hamilton was in the hospital again. During the removal of the tumor, an artery in the brain was "nicked". The bleeding was stopped, but an aneurysm formed days later. Hamilton came through the surgery well.

In 2016, Hamilton announced that he had received his third brain tumor diagnosis. In late March 2017, he stated that the tumor had shrunk without chemo.

Charitable work

In 1990, as the Make-A-Wish Foundation honored its 10th birthday, Hamilton was recognized as the Foundation's first ever "Celebrity Wish Granter of the Year."

He founded the Scott Hamilton Cares Foundation to assist with cancer patient support. He has been a longtime volunteer with the Special Olympics and currently serves as a Special Olympics Global Ambassador. Hamilton has also helped benefit St. Jude's Children's Hospital and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, of which he is an honorary board member.


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