There’s a rare kinship that exists among Olympians. Rarer still is the bond among some of America’s most beloved champions. In anticipation of the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, Parade gathered figure skating superstars Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton, and Kristi Yamaguchi, along with legendary short-track speed skater Apolo Ohno, for a candid rink-side chat in New York City’s Central Park.
Each athlete has changed the face of skating in a unique way (in 1992 Yamaguchi was the first Asian-American woman to win a gold medal, for example; Hamilton brought a new level of athleticism to his sport). And all four have successfully gone on to second acts, having navigated the rocky transition to “regular life.” Ohno, who recently retired as the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian of all time with eight medals (from the 2002, 2006, and 2010 Games), brought his competitive streak to the stage on Dancing With the Stars. Yamaguchi, also a Dancing alum, is now raising two young daughters with husband and former Olympic hockey player Bret Hedican. Hamill, who struggled with depression after winning her gold in 1976, runs a figure skating camp for adults in Phoenix. Perhaps no one has shown more resilience than 1984 champ Hamilton, now a dad and author, who makes light of his “unique hobby of collecting life-threatening illnesses,” including testicular cancer and a recurrent benign brain tumor.