Legendary figure skater and announcer Scott Hamilton has been a staple of the sport since the 1980’s. He has been inducted into the US Olympics and World Figure Skating Halls of Fame. He also created the entertaining Stars on Ice program where he would often perform his signature backflip to the delight of audiences.
The backstory to Hamilton’s success, however, makes what he achieved all the more incredible. In an I Am Second video, Hamilton shares the numerous and serious health issues he struggled with throughout his life and skating career.
As a child, he suffered from an undiagnosed disease which stunted his growth. He shares that he went to the local skating club merely by accident, and that was the beginning of his journey on ice.
Hamilton went on to win four consecutive figure skating titles and took home the gold medal in the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.
But that wasn’t the end of his health struggles. In 1997, he was forced to leave his skating career to be treated for testicular cancer. Due to the cancer treatment, Hamilton didn’t believe he could ever have children, although he and his wife, Tracie, badly wanted them.
Through these struggles, Hamilton says he learned to put his faith in God.
"I understand that through a strong relationship with Jesus you can endure anything. ... God is there to guide you through the tough spots. God was there every single time, every single time,” he said.
Despite the odds, Hamilton and his wife were blessed with a son--and then three more children!
But his health struggles didn’t end there.
He was then diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was when he revealed this to his wife and she prayed with him that he truly decided to trust in Christ.
It also turned out that the brain tumor was what had stunted his growth as a child, and which, amazingly, had gotten him into skating and shaped the rest of his life.
“Who would I be without a brain tumor?” he asks in the video. “I could choose to look at it as debilitating, I could choose to focus on the suffering. I choose to look at that brain tumor as the greatest gift I could have gotten because it made everything else possible.”
See below to watch Hamilton's original I Am Second video, as well as his recently-released follow-up to the first video:
Photo: Tracie Hamilton and Scott Hamilton backstage during an Evening with Scott Hamilton and Friends to Benefit Scott Hamilton Cares Foundation at Bridgestone Arena on November 20, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Photo courtesy: Rick Diamond/Getty Images
Publication date: February 13, 2018
Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the outdoors, or reading, she can be found mostly in Richmond, VA writing primarily about nature, nostalgia, faith, family, and Jane Austen.