Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
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Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
The medal presentation for Womens Figure Skating during the 1976 Winter Olympics. Dorothy Hamill from USA was awarded the gold medal.
Every four years, people around the world turn their attention to the Olympics, the global athletic competition with a wide range of sporting events where each country sends their best, trying to collect as many medals as possible. There have been two sets of Olympics for quite some time, and although the summer tends to draw more interest, there are certain events in the winter version of the games that get big ratings numbers. Among those is figure skating, which has produced quite a few stars over the years.
In 1976, more than 1,100 athletes made their way to Innsbruck, Austria for the 12th Olympic Winter Games in February. The figure skating competitions had a lot of attention as one of the competitors was Dorothy Hamill, who had been considered the favorite heading into the Olympics. There was a good reason for that, as Hamill showed potential to be a star in the sport before becoming a teenager.
Hamill, who you see here in the middle with her gold medal from the ladies’ singles competition, was born in Chicago on July 26, 1956, though she was raised for most of her youth in Greenwich, Connecticut. When she was eight years old, Hamill started figure skating, taking private lessons in the wee hours of the morning with hopes of standing out from the crowd. Hamill displayed her talent to coaches, who trained her for long mornings, days and nights while he parents spent big money every year on her training.
At one point in her childhood, Hamill had been more focused on figure skating rather than school as it became clear that she could possibly make a career out of skating. At just 12 years old, Hamill made her way to the United States Championships and several other nationwide competitions as an amateur. By 1974, Hamill had become the top figure skated in the country, winning the United States Championship that allowed her to travel the world to represent her native land.
In the World Championships, Hamill would finish in second place in both 1974 and 1975. In the latter competition, it was Dianne de Leeuw of the Netherlands that took the top spot. Heading into the 1976 Olympics, the two were slotted to be the top two finishers once again, and that’s the way that it worked out. Here, you see de Leeuw hanging onto her silver medal on the left side. It was a fierce competition that also had Christine Errath from East Germany, another favorite in the program that you see on the right, finishing third. Seeing these three on the podium at competitions during the mid 1970s was a very common sight.
To win the gold medal at the Olympics, Hamill had to compete in three different competitions in the overall standings. There were the short and long programs, as well as the figures. Hamill took the top spot in the first two, while landing in second in the final program. Those overall standings gave Hamill the gold medal, setting her up for a long career in figure skating. There was one more amateur competition for Hamill around the corner with that year’s World Championships, which she had won once again. After that, Hamill decided to become professional as the most well-known figure skater perhaps in all of the world.
Going professional in figure skating isn’t quite like what it is in basketball or football. There’s no team competitions that you get to participate in when you go pro, as it’s more like going professional in wrestling. It’s typically about theatrics and putting on shows for large audiences around the world, and that’s exactly what Hamill did. Following her successful amateur career, Hamill joined the Ice Capades, which had been an established name at that point and gained a lot of popularity with Hamill signing on.
Hamill was the star of the show at the Ice Capades for many years, with things reaching their peak in the late 1970s. However, during the 1980s, the Ice Capades started to lose quite a bit of steam as other shows were established and fewer people were spending time watching other sports as the advent of 24 hour sports television came about. By the early 1990s, Ice Capades had went into bankruptcy, but was saved by Hamill herself when she bought the company and rebranded with her name at the front.
Hamill’s ownership stake didn’t last for too long as she sold the company for around $10 million in 1995. Since then, there have been different incantations of the Ice Capades, having a revival every now and then to interested audiences. Hamill has taken part in several of these shows over the years, and that’s included licensing out shows to some notable entertainment franchises like Star Wars or Cinderella.
To this day, Hamill is still a big name in the world of figure skating having coached several young hopefuls while making the occasional appearance on television. She’s been part of shows like “Chopped” and “Dancing with the Stars”, though she had to withdraw from that competition early due to an injury. To this day, the highlight of Hamill’s career comes from the fact that she won the gold medal at the 1976 Winter Olympics in one of the more memorable events of the era.
One thing is for sure, and it’s the fact that figure skating has changed dramatically since the days of Hamill. There’s a lot more pressure to do more difficult and flashy moves, which has left Hamill a bit more nostalgic for the 1970s form of figure skating. “For me, I miss a little bit of the beauty and the freedom,” she said. “With the number of rotations they do in the air, that’s really the most difficult physically, but I’m missing a lot of the inherent beauty of what skating is.”
“In my opinion, I think they lost a little bit of the joy and simplicity of skating.” As for whether or not she’ll keep skating, Hamill says that “I’m just trying to do it for fun. For me, trying to stay active is the most important thing, since skating – which was my job – isn’t really my job anymore.” No matter how many times she continues to get on the ice, though, her name is not one that will soon be forgotten in the sport.