Dorothy Mauk, The Denver Post, Retired
Most fans would say four straight National titles, four consecutive World crowns and an Olympic gold medal by themselves make figure skater Scott Hamilton a worthy candidate for his adopted state’s Sports Hall of Fame. Others point to this Ohio-born Colorado resident’s abilities as a CBS sports commentator, his versatility and natural showmanship as a successful professional competitor and entertainer. Many also cite his humanitarianism causes and conquest of a growth-stunting childhood disorder.
It took 14 years for the adopted son of Bowling Green professors Ernest and Dorothy Hamilton to capitalize on the life-saving ice-skating activities prescribed for him at age 9. Always the ice clown during his early years, the diminutive dynamo didn’t alter that pattern until 1976, when he moved to Colorado at age 18 to launch a more disciplined program.
Propelled by the Broadmoor/Colorado Ice Arena tutelage of Carlo Fassi and Don Laws, as well as his flag-bearer designation at the 1980 Lake Placid Games, the 5-foot-3, 115-pound athlete attained his long-sought breakthrough in 1981. Winning his first National Sports Festival, Skate America and U.S. National gold medals, he became only the second American since 1970 to parlay a come-from-behind free-skating program into a World crown and earned the first of four Athlete of the Year citations from the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Never again defeated as an amateur, he was the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame’s Amateur Athlete of the Year for 1982 and went into his victorious 1984 Olympic campaign in Sarajevo as the heavily favored winner of 16 consecutive championships. His Olympic Gold was the first won by an American male skater since 1960 and his subsequent World triumph was the first fourth-title conquest in 28 years.
Colorado’s ambassador of good will spent the first two years of his pro career with Ice Capades. Starting in 1986, he has headlined his own Scott Hamilton “America” Tour and “Discover Card Stars on Ice”. He also has done theater ice shows, appeared numerous times in Lake Tahoe, been a guest-star in TV specials – and honed his golf game.
Landslide choice for the USOC’s first “Olympic Spirit Award” in 1987 and first male solo skater to receive the International Skating Union’s prestigious Jacques Favart Award in 1988, Hamilton was inducted into both the U.S. Olympic and World Figure Skating Halls of Fame in 1990.
Always the ice clown during his early years, the diminutive dynamo didn’t alter that pattern until 1976, when he moved to Colorado at age 18 to launch a more disciplined program.