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Dorothy Hamill        

Gold Medal-Winning Olympic Figure Skater & Founder of I-Skate

Dorothy Hamill was born in Chicago, Illinois, but her parents soon moved to Riverside, Connecticut, where she began skating at the age of eight on a pond behind her grandparents’ home. Frustrated when she was unable to keep up with her older sister on the ice, Hamill asked her parents for skating lessons and soon discovered her life’s passion. She spent every possible moment on the ice and by age 11 was entering and winning figure skating competitions in New York City. Her parents supported her ambitions, waking at four in the morning to take her to the rink for early-morning practice sessions.

At 13, Hamill was spending her weeks in New York City, working with coach Gus Lussi at Lake Placid, and traveling to competitions around the country. In 1969 she won the National Novice title and took home a silver medal from the Junior Nationals the following year. She began to train at the Broadmoor Skating Club in Colorado Springs with Carlo Fassi, the coach who had guided Olympic champion Peggy Fleming.

Only one year later, she was competing as an adult and reached the top five in the National Championships. By 1973 she had reached second place in the U.S. National competition and number four in the World Championships. She won her first U.S. Championship in 1974, and successfully defended the title for the two following seasons.

At age 19, she won a triple crown, snagging both the U.S. and World Championships and winning the gold medal in the 1976 Winter Olympics at Innsbruck, Austria. Her performance at the Olympics captivated an international audience, and hair stylists all over the United States were mobbed with customers seeking to emulate her distinctive hairstyle. She found herself continually in demand for commercial endorsements, to a degree unmatched by any figure skater before or since.

After her triumph in the Olympics and at the World Championships, she relinquished her amateur status, and went professional, undertaking a grueling touring schedule with the Ice Capades. She remained with the Ice Capades for eight years, and also appeared in a series of popular television specials with film and music stars Gene Kelly, Perry Como and Andy Williams and a televised production of Romeo and Juliet on Ice. She also toured in Nutcracker on Ice and with the show Stars on Ice. She continued to participate in professional competition, winning the World Professional Championship for five years running, from 1983 to 1987.

Dorothy Hamill was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1991. That same year, she bought out the financially troubled Ice Capades and produced and starred in a highly acclaimed tour, Frozen in Time: Cinderella on Ice. During the three years she ran the celebrated ice show, she made substantial improvements in the working conditions of professional skaters, instituting regular practice and training sessions and eliminating demeaning weekly weigh-ins.

Hamill’s charity work has included the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the International Special Olympics, the American Cancer Society, and AIDS research foundations, and teaching blind children to skate through the March of Dimes.

For some years she was plagued with osteoarthritis, but correct diagnosis and treatment have returned her to live performance. Today, Dorothy Hamill lives in Vail, Colorado and Indian Wells, California, with her husband, business executive John MacColl. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and has made it her mission to empower other women by helping to launch a national campaign called BeWisER+ About Breast Cancer.

Speech Topics


A Skating Life

With her distinctive bobbed hairdo and dazzling smile, Hamill leaped into America's heart as a 19-year old when she took the Olympic figure-skating gold medal in 1976. In this keynote presentation, based on her book A Skating Life, she reveals her lifelong struggle with a depression that sometimes left her contemplating suicide. She shares how she now successfully manages her depression with a compendium of exercise, medication, therapy, and the support of her family and friends.

An Evening with Dorothy Hamill

A Champion Wins Over Depression

News


Dorothy Hamill: What she says about her 'Dancing with the Stars ...

Dorothy Hamill announced on Tuesday's episode of 'Dancing with the Stars' that she would be leaving the show due to an injury. Dorothy Hamill said in an ...

Dorothy Hamill's life off the ice - Video on NBCNews.com

Dorothy Hamill's life off the ice. Oct. 3: The Olympic champion tells TODAY anchor Meredith Vieira about her new book and her battle with depression.

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