From Ohio History Central
Scott Hamilton performs during a Stars on Ice show in Portland, Maine. Photo taken by NightThree on April 4, 2002.
Scott Hamilton is one of the more famous male figure skaters in history. He was born on August 28, 1958, but he never knew his birth parents, as he was adopted by a family in Bowling Green, Ohio, at six weeks of age. At two years of age, Hamilton developed a mysterious illness that kept him in hospitals for the next six years. The illness confounded doctors. Finally, after visiting Boston, Massachusetts', Children's Hospital, doctors admitted that they could find nothing wrong with Hamilton and that he should try to lead a normal life. Hamilton has stated that his disorder resulted from his body being unable to digest food when he was younger. This illness clearly affected Hamilton's growth, leaving him relatively short in stature for figure skaters.
Hamilton began skating at the age of nine years, and his health quickly improved. Four years later, Hamilton left home to train for the Olympics and other international competitions. Most figure skater experts believed that Hamilton was too small to compete in figure skating competitions. In 1980, Hamilton qualified for the United States Olympic Team, and he finished fifth in the Olympics.
In 1981, Hamilton emerged as the dominant male figure skater in the world. That year, he won the World Figure Skating Championships. He proceeded to win every national and world championship over the next four years, including a gold medal in the 1984 Olympic Games. This was the first Olympic gold medal for an American male figure skater since 1960.
Upon winning the gold medal at the Olympics, Hamilton turned professional. He won the first professional world figure skating championship in 1984, and he then proceeded to win several other competitions, including the Open Professional (1990), the Diet Coke Championship (1992), and the Gold Championships (1994). Hamilton also skated in the Ice Capades for two years (1984-1986), before he was terminated. He then proceeded to create his own figure skating show, The Scott Hamilton America Tour. This show eventually became Stars on Ice. In 1996, Hamilton convinced television executives to air professional figure skating programs in primetime. These shows garnered tremendous viewer ship.
In 1997, Hamilton was diagnosed with cancer. He successfully battled the disease and returned to professional ice skating.