In 1976, Dorothy Hamill won the gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Austria. Shortly after, she earned the World Championship title in Sweden. Hamill's sweet face, bobbed hairstyle and determination led her to become known as "America's sweetheart." Following her professional career, Hamill toured with the Ice Capades from 1977 to 1984. She also won a Daytime Emmy for her performance in Romeo & Juliet On Ice (1983).
Born Dorothy Stuart Hamill on July 26, 1956, in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, Dorothy Hamill learned to skate as a young girl with her siblings on her grandparent's pond. She begged her parents, Chalmers and Carol, to let her take lessons as a child so that she could learn how to skate backwards, and they agreed.
Acclaimed Figure Skater
Dorothy Hamill became immediately dedicated to the sport, often heading to the rink for 4:30 a.m. practices. By 1974, Hamill had made her big breakthrough at the World Championships in Munich, Germany, when she won the silver medal. She won silver again in 1975, at the World Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The following year, the 19-year-old Hamill won the gold medal at the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Shortly after her victory, she earned the world championship title in Gothenburg, Sweden. By this time, Hamill's sweet face, bobbed hairstyle and unbridled determination had led her to become known as "America's sweetheart."
In addition to mastering numerous figure-skating skills, Hamill is credited with inventing new moves of her own. One such move became known as the "Hamill camel," a combination of a camel and sit spin.
Following her professional career, from 1977 to 1984, Dorothy Hamill toured extensively with the Ice Capades. During her time with the traveling ice show, she also produced and starred in her own touring productions, including Cinderella and The Nutcracker. Additionally, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for her starring role in the 1983 figure-skating production of Romeo & Juliet On Ice.
In 1993, after the Ice Capades began to struggle financially, Hamill bought the company. She later sold it to International Family Entertainment. Hamill continues to skate in shows, however, and is currently a regular performer of the show Broadway on Ice.
Hamill has received many honors, including inductions into the Olympic Hall of Fame and the Figure Skating Hall of Fame, and was selected to run the torch into the Olympic Stadium at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In 2006, Hamill debuted as a judge on the television show Skating With Celebrities. The following year, she published her autobiography A Skating Life: My Story. Additionally, in February 2013, Hamill was announced as one of the newest contestants of Dancing with the Stars, ABC's popular dance-competition show, along with country singer Wynonna Judd, funny man D.L. Hughley, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman and many other celebrities.
In January 2008, Hamill announced that she was being treated for breast cancer. She moved to Nantucket, Massachusetts, for treament and currently works with the Nantucket skating club. She also continues her work with several charities, including the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the International Special Olympics and the American Cancer Society.
Hamill was married to Dean Paul Martin from 1982 to 1984, and to Kenneth Forsythe from 1987 to 1995. She and Forsythe have a daughter, Alexandra.
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