“I need to get back to work,” Hamilton tells PEOPLE. “It’s really frustrating being a public person and being more well-known for your illnesses rather than your accomplishments. Enough already!”
Hamilton, 52, is about to get his wish.
In late March, he is planning a return to skating, once he receives a clean bill of health from his doctors at the Cleveland Clinic and the effects of blood thinner medication to wear off. “I love to skate; nothing gets me in better shape, and it’s fun,” he says.
To prepare, Hamilton, is working with a personal trainer three times a week in his home gym in Franklin, Tenn. “I don’t have plans to perform in front of an audience, but never say never,” he says.
In the meantime, Hamilton is busy making non-skating promotional appearances for the 25th anniversary tour of Smucker’s Stars on Ice, the skating show he founded in 1986 and still produces. “Last year my goal was to skate in this show but it wasn t meant to be,” he says. “But we have phenomenal talent: Evan Lysacek, Sasha Cohen and Kurt Browning, to name a few.”
He also recently attended the world premiere of the documentary Rise, the story of a plane crash that killed 18 members of the U.S. figure skating team en route to the 1961 world championships in Prague.
“[It] was an amazing experience that helped me have a greater understanding of the history of skating,” Hamilton says of the film, which will screen again in theaters on March 7, “and the contributions made by these skaters, coaches and judges who died tragically.”
Hamilton, who is just getting over a touch of the flu, almost relished the relatively mild illness. “I’m feeling great now,” he says, adding with a laugh, “but being recreationally sick was a breath of fresh air.”