I'm sure many of us have fond memories of 19-year-old Dorothy Hamill of Riverside, Connecticut, adorned in an lovely American Beauty Rose-colored costume, skating her heart out and winning the Olympic gold medal in Innsbruck, 1976. After finishing second in the previous two Worlds, Dorothy was the class of the field, finishing second in the school figures, and winning both the short and long programs. Every judge gave her first-place votes.
Dorothy's wedgecut hairdo became the rage, and countless women in America rushed to their hairdresser to cut their hair in "Dorothy's do".
The first time I saw Dorothy was at the televised broadcast of the 1972 Worlds, held in Calgary. Dorothy was a cute
15-year-old who had finished fourth at the US Nationals and had just missed qualifying for th Olympic team. She skated a very respectable Worlds and finished in seventh place. Dick Button conducted a charming interview with Dorothy, who was quite shy at being interviewed on television.
One of the most memorable images of Dorothy was her upset reaction at the 1974 Worlds, in which the West German audience erupted in catcalls and boos when the W. German skater who preceded her had received - what they believed to be - low scores. Dorothy was circling the ice, waiting for her turn, and the hullaballo brought her to tears, for she thought the audience was booing her. She was given the opportunity to take a rest period, but she marched back onto the ice and skated a strong, technical program to win the long program and win the silver medal. You go, girl! :D
I've seen Dorothy skate several times during her pro career, the first time being three years after she won the Olympic title. She sparkled in Ice Capades, and her smile reached to the top row of the arena.
I've also seen and enjoyed all of Dorothy's television specials.
I was surprised, however, that Dorothy did not participate in the "Skates of Gold" programs that were held in the early 1990s. These were wonderful "reunions" of all Olympic gold medalists, and many of the women were there - Barbara Ann Scott, Tenley Albright, Carol Heiss, Peggy Fleming, Annet Poetszch, Katarina Witt, and Kristi Yamaguchi. Absent were Dorothy, Sjouke Dykstra, and Trixi Schuba. Perhaps Dorothy was on the road with her skating performances at that time - whatever the reason, she was dearly missed.
Dorothy enjoyed a 16-year reign as the "last American woman to win an Olympic gold medal", from 1976-1992, and in many ways, she is still "America's sweetheart".
Long may she skate!!