Scott Hamilton: Trust Our Almighty Coach
CBN.com THE ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC HALL OF FAME
Scott was adopted by Ernest and Dorothy Hamilton when he was six-weeks-old. When he was two, Scott contracted a mysterious disease that caused him to stop growing. For the next six years, doctors prescribed unsuccessful treatments. At one point, Scott was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and given six months to live! His parents took him to Boston’s Children’s Hospital where his ailment corrected itself with the aid of a special diet and moderate exercise. Soon, Scott was well enough to watch his sister, Susan, ice skate and decided to try it himself.
From the beginning Scott skated with confidence and speed. His illness disappeared and he began to grow again, though always considerably smaller than his school friends. Doctors believed his recovery was due to the effects of intense physical activity in the cold atmosphere of the ice skating rink.
At 13, Scott left home to train for national competition. His mother, a grade school teacher, went back to school and became a college professor to help finance Scott’s expensive training, even as she went through treatment for cancer. When his mother died, Scott decided to become a world champion and succeeded despite the resistance of skating judges who believed he was too small to compete at the international level. (He is 5 feet, 2.5 inches tall.)
In 1980, Scott captured third place in national competition and won a place on the U.S. Olympic team. He finished fifth at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. He won the 1981 National and World Championships with dazzling on-ice performances. For the next four years, Scott won every national and world competition and capped his career with a gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.
After his Olympic victory, Scott turned professional and again encountered resistance from TV executives and promoters who believed that only female figure skaters could draw an audience. He starred in the Ice Capades for two years (1984-86) until a change of ownership led to his abrupt dismissal. Frustrated, Scott created his own professional ice revue, The Scott Hamilton America Tour, which evolved into Stars on Ice. His on-ice personality, humor and showmanship revolutionized the role of the male figure skater and created a new audience for figure skating. After unsuccessfully pitching proposals for 12 years, Scott finally launched the first in a series of prime time network television specials.
In 1984, Scott won the first professional world figure skating championship, and again in 1986. He also captured the Open Professional in 1990, the Diet Coke Championship in 1992 and the Gold Championships in 1994. In 1990, Scott was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
In 1997, Scott’s life and career were threated again by illness. He underwent successful surgery for stage 4 testicular cancer and was back on the ice after a few months. Three years later, Scott met Tracie and in 2002, they were married. But in 2004, Scott was diagnosed with a non-malignant brain tumor. In 2008, Tracie gave birth to their son, Maxx Thomas.
THE GREAT FIGURE EIGHT
Scott says that he always believed in God as a child.
“I always wanted to understand more, but religion seemed so divisive to me,” Scott said. “I believed in God, but I couldn’t identify the what and the how.”
When he met Tracie, she introduced him to a pastor who explained the Gospel to Scott. In 2002, Scott was baptized.
“My faith plays an incredible role in being grounded, being able to let go of all the things that have held me back,” Scott said. “With all I’ve faced, I’ve had to let go and move forward. My relationship with God helps me with that.”
Much like a skating coach, Scott says you must trust your “almighty Coach.”
“My faith in God was always lifting me to new heights I never could have reached on my own,” Scott said.
During his Olympic exhibition performance, Scott skated to Amazing Grace. He also reminded us that life, like skating, requires fundamental skills that only come from repetitive practice. He said he would have never won the Olympics without having mastered figure eights (which are no longer required in competitions today).