Dorothy Stuart Hamill (born July 26, 1956 in Chicago) is an American figure skater. She is the figure skater.
Hamill was born in Chicago, but her family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut shortly after where she spent the rest of her childhood. She has a brother and a sister.
Hamill started ice skating when she was eight years old on her grandparents' backyard pond. Her skates were too big, so her grandmother would put stuffing in the toes to make them fit. She asked her mother if she could have lessons so she could learn to skate backwards. Her mother said yes. When she was 12, one morning Hamill couldn't wake her mother Carol for practice at 4:30 a.m. After awakening, Carol found her daughter walking alone in the cold to the rink, 10 miles away, with her skates slung over her shoulder.
Hamill was U.S. champion from 1974 through 1976. She is credited with developing a new skating move; a figure skater that turns into a figure skater, which became known as the "Hamill camel." The bobbed hairstyle that she wore during her Olympic performance started a fad. A Dorothy Hamill doll was made in 1977. She quickly became America's sweetheart.
Hamill made her big breakthrough at the 1974 World Championships in Munich, Germany. She was in 3rd place after the Compulsory figures and the short program. She was set to skate directly after the German skater whose marks were mercilessly booed while Hamill was already on the ice. Visibly upset, she left the ice and burst into tears. After the crowd settled down, she returned to the ice and skated a perfect and inspiring program; almost winning the gold medal, but capturing silver behind Christine Errath of East Germany.
Hamill won silver again at the World Championships in 1975 at Colorado Springs, Colorado behind Dianne de Leeuw of the Netherlands but ahead of Errath. In 1976, Hamill switched boots to skate the compulsory figures better (she had been wearing special boots created by Carlo Fassi that did not seem to be helping her).
At the 1976 Olympics, Hamill came in second in the figures and then won the short and long programs, taking the gold medal. Before Dorothy Hamill took to the ice for her freestyle routine at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, she started crying after seeing a sign in the stands that said, "Which of the West? Dorothy!"
At first, she thought detractors made the sign and took it as a message that she was a witch. In this Cold War era, what the sign-makers were cleverly asking is which Western skater - Hamill or Diane de Leeuw of the Netherlands - was going to defeat East Germany's Christina Errath for the gold medal. Then they answered by saying Dorothy.
Once Hamill realized the sign was held by her friends, who wanted to shake her out of her usual pre-competition jitters, the three-time U.S. champion felt better. A relaxed Hamill, skating to music from Errol Flynn movies, won the gold medal by a unanimous decision of the nine judges.
The crowd showered her with so many flowers that three girls helped her gather them on the ice. Lord Killanin, president of the International Olympic Committee, put the gold medal around her neck. Though she won't identify the alleged assailant, Hamill said that a competing skater and the skater's coach tried to run her down with a car during the 1976 Olympics. She also won the world championships that year and then turned professional.
Hamill was an Ice Capades headliner from 1977-1984; she bought the financially-strapped company in 1993 but sold it to Pat Robertson's International Family Entertainment, Inc. soon after.
Hamill went on to write an autobiographical book, On and Off the Ice. She was married and divorced twice: to the late Dean Paul Martin (1982 - 1984), and then to Kenneth Forsythe (1987 - 1995), with whom she had a daughter named Alexandra. She was featured in Vioxx commercials before the medication was withdrawn from the market. She was a judge on the 2006 Fox television show Skating With Celebrities. Her new autobiography A Skating Life: My Story was published in October 2007 by Hyperion Press.
Hamill continues to skate in shows (and is currently a regular principal with Broadway on Ice), and when asked when she will stop, says "never." She was a "special guest" in the Brian Boitano-Barry Manilow skating extravaganza at AT&T Park in San Francisco on December 5, 2007.
On January 4, 2008, Ms. Hamill announced that she is being treated for breast cancer at Johns Hopkins. Ms. Hamill hoped to rejoin the national tour of Broadway on Ice on January 16th. Instead Hamill soon moved to Nantucket, Massachusetts, where she is currently working with the Nantucket skating club.
Dorothy Hamill was married to:
- Kenneth Forsythe (5 March 1987 - 1995) (divorced) daughter Alexandra
- Dean Paul Martin (8 January 1982 - June 1984) (divorced)
Records and achievementsEdit
- Olympic Champion (1976).
- World Champion (1976).
- Three-time United States National Champion (1974-1976).
- Invented the Hamill camel, a camel spin followed by a sit spin.
- World Professional Champion (1983-1987).
- Awarded the National Young American Award by the Boy Scouts of America.
- Won Daytime Emmy Award - Outstanding Individual Achievement in the Performing Arts - Host/Hostess for Romeo and Juliet on Ice (1983)
- Inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame (1991).
- Inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame (2000).
- "I wasn't particularly athletic or gifted, but I loved it. I'd be at the skating rink all day long, just skating around and around. I could be all alone and nobody could get near me and I didn't have to talk to anybody. I was in my fantasy world."
- "I worked as hard as I could. I was always the first one on the ice and the last one off."
- ESPN Classics - Dorothy Hamill's win in Innsbruck plus trivia