If you’re an avid Olympic watcher, then you know that for almost a quarter of a century, you couldn’t watch Olympic figure skating without seeing Scott Hamilton in the broadcast booth. His charismatic attitude and giddy voice would electrify your television anytime someone landed an amazing jump or won a gold medal.
But all great things eventually come to an end. With the rise of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, two Olympians who have become pop-culture idols, Scott Hamilton was not invited to do the figure skating broadcasting in Pyeongchang, according to the New York Times. Instead, Hamilton has been regulated to a show called Olympic Ice, which is on the secondary NBC Sports Network. This change came as no surprise to Hamilton, in fact, he knew during the 2014 games in Russia that this change was coming.
He says that Johnny and Tara had a breakout performance on the NBC Sports Network during the 2014 games, and no one was going to stop them from rising. Hamilton also adds that the worst thing he could do in this situation is to have a huge ego because that wouldn’t be the type of person he is. He went on to say that Johnny and Tara are a breath of fresh air for the sport.
Hamilton admits that there was a sense of sadness in him for about 10 minutes when he found out in the fall of 2014— from Jim Bell, NBC’s president of Olympics production and programming—that he wouldn’t be working for Skating America that October. But there was one positive that Hamilton got out of the network’s decision. He has been battling for years to stay healthy, so being replaced by the next big thing could never compare to living his life. Hamilton calculated that over his skating career he fell a total 41,600 times. He also noted that he also got up 41,600 times as well, so he knew he would bounce back from this decision.
Background Information on Scott Hamilton: According to Biography.com, Scott Hamilton won various skating championships before earning a spot on the 1980 Olympic figure skating team. He was the United States flag bearer during the opening ceremonies. He placed fifth in the male figure skating competition that year. By 1984, Hamilton had won 15 consecutive championships and earned another spot on the 1984 Olympic figure skating team. Despite struggles with his short and long programs, he won Olympic gold that year.
In the mid-1980’s, Hamilton co-founded the touring production Stars on Ice. He also participated in other shows such as Ice Capades and Scott Hamilton’s Celebration on Ice, according to Biography.com. As mentioned earlier, he dedicated much of his life to commentating figure skating. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the U.S. Olympics and World Figure Skating Championships.
The New York Times reports that Hamilton was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1997, which he successfully recovered from. Unfortunately, in 2004, Hamilton learned that he had a brain tumor that wrapped around his optic nerve. Despite the tumor being benign, it had the potential to grow in ways that could crowd his brain. Doctors performed radiation treatment and the tumor went away, only to return in 2010, according to the New York Times. Doctors performed surgery to remove the tumor, which caused an aneurysm, blinding him in one eye temporarily. Hamilton remembers his wife telling him: “Joy is not the lack of suffering or fear, it’s how you choose to handle the suffering and fear.” So when the same tumor came back in 2016, Hamilton didn’t ask himself “why me” this time.
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