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If you like Scott Hamilton's story, you might also like:
Tenley Albright,
John Gearhart,
Dorothy Hamill
and Willie Mays

Scott Hamilton also appears in the video:
Perseverance and the American Dream

Teachers can find prepared lesson plans featuring Scott Hamilton in the Achievement Curriculum section:
The Amazing Olympic Games

Related Links:
USA Olympic Team
Scott Hamilton Cares Initiative

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  Scott Hamilton

Who do you admire in the skating world?

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Scott Hamilton: I admire Kristi Yamaguchi. Great integrity, consistency, focus, wonderful person, cares about kids and children. Irina Rodnina from Russia, the greatest pair skater of all time, as far as the level of success. Gordeeva and Grinkov were the greatest pair team of all time, and I admire them a great deal. We lost Sergei, but Katia is somebody that I really admire for her strength and her devotion, not only to the sport, but to the people around her, and what she's been able to give out of her tragedy.

There's a lot of great, great skaters out there that, and not just for what they do on the ice. Brian Boitano has had great athletic integrity and he understands the responsibility of his craft. He's been able to keep his skating up at a level for a long period of time that has never been done before. These are people that I admire.

Janet Lynn was one that loved to skate and just shared the joy of being on the ice with everybody around her. But when it came time to have a family, she said, "I can either make a million dollars on the road, or I can stay home, shop at garage sales and raise my children. I think I'm going to stay home with my kids and not make the money." That showed me a great deal.

The first time I ever met her I was 12 years old. She looked at me, and she introduced herself and she was a four time national champion. I was nervous. I'd never been in the same room with this person before, I never saw her skate, but she sits down next to me as the new kid in the rink and she gave me all sorts of advice that I've never forgotten. That was a gift, and I admire her so much. What an amazing person, and so generous. And when it came time to make the decision, she made the right one, and I admire her for that.

What is your idea of the American Dream?

Scott Hamilton: The American Dream right now is getting a little bit muddled. It seems to be caught up in materialism. Success is now money. Success is now power and position.

I think the American Dream is that you can do whatever you want with your life. You can pave your own path, you can do whatever you want, and you're free to do that. If you want to be a brain surgeon, you can be a brain surgeon. If you want to live on a beach, you can live on a beach. If you want to, you can do whatever you want and every life is unique. Everybody that lives in this country has their own story, has their own talent, their own ability, their own desires and interests and tastes, and they have the opportunity to explore those without any restriction.

[ Key to Success ] The American Dream

The American Dream is that you can dream. And you can achieve those dreams without anybody standing in your way.

How have people around the world reacted to you over the years?

Scott Hamilton Interview Photo
Scott Hamilton: The more I travel, the more I understand that people are the same, fundamentally. They all want to be loved. Everybody wants to enjoy their food. Everybody wants to be entertained. People from all over the world love to laugh. We're all the same, it's just governments and religions that pull us apart.

We all want our families, we all want the good things. We all want to laugh and we want to live in comfort and we want to experience and feel the joys of accomplishment. And I think everybody holds those things, whether you live in Mongolia, or South Dakota, or Paris, or the Ivory Coast.

Laughter, love, acceptance and accomplishment, those are all things that feed the best parts of our soul. I think everybody holds those in common. If we could just get past the color of our skin, or our hair, or religion, if we can just look beyond those things and look at each other as human beings, I think we'd be a lot better off.

That's one thing I learned meeting people from East Germany. There was one man that was in charge of housing us and feeding us in East Germany. He was so much fun to be around. We'd sit down and occasionally try the local beverage, and laugh, and enjoy each other's company. Their style of government, and the way they were taught to live there was much different than mine, but we still found things to talk about, things to laugh about, and it was always fun.

You go to Japan and it's a whole different culture. You can't read the street signs, and you get lost easily, and it's so many people, but you sit down and you have a meal and you laugh, and you find things to discuss and things that are of common interest. People are all basically the same. When the world starts to get a little bit smaller, I sense people trying to fight for their own turf a little bit. They want to be different, and it's hard. We're all a minority, but we're all the majority, and we should find more ways of finding the common ground where we can all just enjoy life.

Thank you so much.

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This page last revised on Mar 25, 2009 11:40 EDT
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