Whatever Happened To USA Figure Skating Star Scott Hamilton?

Ice skating star Scott Hamilton dazzled the world in the 1980s with his intricate footwork and backflips. He dominated the sport from 1981 to 1984 when he won the U.S. and World Championships for four straight years before getting the gold in Sarajevo during the 1984 Winter Olympics; Hamilton became the first American male figure skater to earn the top spot in 24 years (via Sports History Weekly).

He retired from amateur skating after the Olympics, starting a career as a professional skater, first appearing in the Ice Capades, and then creating his own group, Stars on Ice. "Ice Capades was a great experience," he said to Sports History Weekly. "I learned a lot, built stamina, and developed my work ethic. But it was sold two years after I joined and I was let go because the new owners didn't need additional male stars. Then I was fortunate to launch 'Stars on Ice', which exploded, especially after Kristi Yamaguchi came on board in 1992." He spent 15 years with the troupe, skating with them until 2004.

Hamilton has struggled with illness

Scott Hamilton's awards include 70 titles and he was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, said his website. He also has a long list of job titles. He appeared as a sports analyst/commentator on TV. He became a best-selling author (penning the children's book "Fritzy Finds a Hat," as well as "Finish First: Winning Changes Everything," his autobiography "Landing It," and more). But his career isn't the only thing important to Hamilton. His long struggle with cancer has given him a wider perspective.

As a young man, Scott Hamilton lost his mother to breast cancer, reported WBUR. "And when you're 18 years old, you don't have anything to compare this life event to, and it's devastating, you know?" Scott said to the news platform. Cancer was a disease he struggled with himself as an adult, battling testicular cancer and two brain tumors, according to WebMD; in fact, a brain tumor in his youth that was mistakenly diagnosed as cystic fibrosis was responsible for his small frame, he later learned (via SoKy Happenings). "I have a unique hobby of collecting life-threatening illness," Hamilton once said to People magazine.

The importance of family and helping others

After a lifetime of battling health scares, Hamilton has started several charitable and educational organizations, such as the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation (Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship) and Chemocare.com. He also participates in fundraising events like An Evening with Scott Hamilton & Friends to foster treatment research (from the Scott Hamilton website).

The former skater is now settled in Tennessee and lives there with his wife, Tracie, and their four children. They adopted their daughter, Evelyne, and son, Jean Paul, from Haiti in 2014. His wife had visited an orphanage in the country in 2012 and met them then. He also has two biological kids, Maxx and Aidan. Scott, himself, was an adopted child (via Today). Today he lives in Nashville and is neighbors with the "Everyday Is a Winding Road" singer Sheryl Crow — their families have become close, he told People magazine, and Crow has performed at his foundation's benefit concerts.

Skating school and politics

The gold medalist currently runs a local skating program in Tennessee, the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy at the Ford Ice Centers in Antioch and Bellevue, reported the NHL. The school focuses on both recreational figure skaters and skaters in competition. "The state of figure skating is in flux," Hamilton said to the Tennessean, and "instead of just watching it and complaining about it and wondering why skating has gone through a downturn, I think it's a great time for me to roll up my sleeves and get involved." The school is a joint project with the Nashville Predators, the NHL team; Hamilton is a longtime season-ticket holder.

Though Hamilton is most closely associated with his skating and charitable work, he is also a vocal Republican who campaigned for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. The endorsement was less out of left field than you might think — Romney, Hamilton claimed, helped the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City stay on budget (per WMUR). Later, Hamilton praised President Trump, whom he met while filming "Celebrity Apprentice" (he was "fired" in the second episode of Season 2, per People magazine). "I never anticipated he would make this move," Hamilton admitted. "But I think he's trying to change the conversation and force the government to deal with things that they are hesitant to handle. I applaud his efforts."