Scott Hamilton

post date: May 28, 2009

This morning on AFR we interviewed Scott Hamilton, the gold medal winning skater, for almost an hour. He’s written a fine new book called The Great Eight, subtitled “How to Be Happy (even when you have every reason to be miserable).” We talked at length about how he got into figure skating, his battles with cancer, and his recent appearance on “Celebrity Apprentice” where Donald Trump (who wrote a nice blurb for the book) fired him in one of the early episodes. Scott chuckled when I asked how he had gotten along with Dennis Rodman. For one thing, there is a pronounced height difference between the two of them. Scott said he and Dennis got along very well and that he wasn’t surprised when he was fired. He said that the producers don’t really contrive anything, but they want lots of drama and this season they got it.

Most people know that Scott won the gold medal for men’s figure skating at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo in 1984. They probably also know that he had testicular cancer and (some years later) a brain tumor that turned out to be benign. The book details his spiritual journey that led him from “the church of Scott” (his term for how he used to be) to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He credits his wife Tracie for her godly influence in helping him come to Christ. Although the book isn’t evangelistic in a direct way, Scott is very clear that he is a Christian. He also said that he is happy whenever he gets a chance to share his faith with others.

As I read the the book and then talked with him today, I was struck with his frankness about how often he fell down in  practice (and sometimes in competition). I would summarize what he said this way. In order to be a great figure skater, you have to learn how to do two things very well:

1) You’ve got to learn how to fall correctly.

Figure skaters fall down all the time. And ironically, the better you get, the more you fall because you are constantly learning new moves on the ice. So if you’re going to be great, get ready to fall–a lot. And learn how to fall so you don’t kill yourself in the process.

2) You’ve got to get up quickly.

If you stay down too long, you may never get up. So when you fall, get up quickly. And keep on skating.

That strikes me as a great way to live. 

Learn to fall correctly.
Learn to get up quickly.

Scott seemed like the real deal to me, and I’m glad to recommend his book to you. 

Click here to listen to the interview.


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