Scott Hamilton is a retired American figure skater and Olympic gold medalist…..who won four consecutive U.S. championships from 1981 to 1984….plus four consecutive World Championships from 1981 to 1984…..and a gold medal in the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics. His signature move is a back-flip, a feat that few other figure skaters could perform….which is against U.S. Figure Skating and Olympic competition rules….but he included 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 1980, Hamilton finished third in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships….which earned him a place on the U.S. Olympic team. At this time, Don Laws was coaching him…..when he finished in 5th place at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics…..when he also had the honor of carrying the American flag in the opening ceremony. His breakthrough performance was in the 1981 U.S. Championships….as 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…..when during the long program, he received scores of 5.8’s and 5.9’s for technical merit and 5.7’s and 5.9’s for artistic impression out of a perfect score of 6.0. He started the long program off with a triple Lutz jump, his most consistent and hardest jump. He performed a strong program in spite of a minor flub. He won gold again in 1982 and 1983 at the U.S. and World Championships.
At the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics, he won the compulsory figures and placed second in the short program. For the long program, he planned five jumps….with a triple Lutz, a triple flip, a triple toe loop in combination with a double loop, a triple toe walley and a triple Salchow. He completed only three of them, missing the triple flip and the triple Salchow. For technical merit, the nine judges gave him three 5.6’s, two 5.7’s, three 5.8’s and a 5.9…..and for artistic impression, he received four 5.8’s and five 5.9’s. Canadian Brian Orser won the long program and Hamilton was second….but Hamilton won the gold medal…..which ended a 24 year gold medal drought for US men in Olympic figure skating. It is noteworthy that he didn’t attempt the triple Axel jump, a more difficult jump which other skaters in the competition landed. 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….albeit 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 1990 he was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.