Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton Talks About Life and Lessons – Beating Cancer, Adopting Kids from Haiti and Applauding Donald Trump
Hard to believe, but it’s been 31 years since famed figure skater Scott Hamilton grabbed gold at the Sarajevo Olympics and launched a career that spanned almost two decades.
Hamilton, now 57, has had a pretty remarkable showing off the ice, too from surviving cancer to becoming a loving father of four (two kids adopted last year from Haiti). Here, Hamilton, who can be seen performing with his 7-year-old son Maxx in Musselman’s Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute, the first special in the Colgate Skating Series on ABC (airing Nov. 15th on ABC), offers up the lessons he’s learned in what he calls his “Who would have believed it?” life.
Second acts are pretty amazing.
“I’m not the Spandex Guy anymore!” says Hamilton, who retired from touring in 2001 to, as he puts it, “launch the rest of my life.” His passions now include overseeing the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, which provides research funding and support to cancer patients and caregivers. He also opened The Scott Hamilton Skating Academy in Nashville in 2014. His proudest accomplishment, though, are his four kids: Aidan, 12, Maxx, 7 – and the two kids he and wife Tracie adopted from Haiti in 2014 – Jean Paul, 14, and Evelyne, 12. Being an older dad, says Hamilton, is a kick: “I’ll be walking around Sun Valley with my 7-year-old, Maxx, and someone will ask, ‘Is that your grandson?’ ”
Open your heart and great things happen.
“When the earthquake happened in Haiti in 2010, Tracie wanted to do whatever she could to help,” says Hamilton. “We went down and met these kids, and fell in love. They’ve been with us for a year and a half, and we have become a family. Jean Paul is a crazy, phenomenal soccer player and Aidan has gotten the bug from him, and now is on the school team. Maxx is into skating – but he wants to play tackle football. We re kind of like, ‘Weeelll, you’re seven. You can wait.’ ”
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Don’t give up – get up!
Some of Hamilton’s biggest victories have come away from the ice. He has successfully battled testicular cancer and a re-occurring benign brain tumor (or, as Hamilton calls them, “My unique collection of life-threatening diseases”). His secret to surviving the tough times: “Every time I’ve gotten knocked down, I ve been able to get up. Skating teaches you how to get up, because you fall down a lot. I would urge anybody to weather the storm, because on the other side of it will be something great.”
Good pals are priceless.
One of Hamilton’s favoite people is Nashville neighbor Sheryl Crow. “I adore her. Her son Wyatt and my son Maxx are best buds, and Sheryl and Tracie are like sisters,” says Hamilton. “When I was doing a big benefit for The Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation in Cleveland a few years ago, I wanted her to perform but I didn’t want to ask her. Later, we went to see her concert in Memphis, and at the end of the show, she said, ‘I want to do your [next] benefit in Nashville.’ I told her, ‘I was afraid to ask you,’ and she said, ‘I’m asking you.’ She is as good as it gets.”
Don’t doubt The Donald. You’re Fired!
Hamilton appeared on Season 2 of Celebrity Apprentice – and got bounced from the boardroom in the second episode. As for President Trump? “The whole thing is mind-blowing,” says Hamilton. “I never anticipated he would make this move. 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.”