Thursday, August 28, 2014

Celebrating Two American Greats: Scott Hamilton and Todd Eldredge

Today we celebrate the births of two great American skating champions: Scott Hamilton and Todd Eldredge. Scott, the 1984 Olympic Champion, 4x U.S. and World Champion, turns 56; while Todd, the 1996 World Champion and 6x U.S. Champion turns 43.

Both skaters are are favorites of mine and have given me countless of hours of viewing pleasure and entertainment over the years.

When I started watching skating in 1994, the professional skating world was experiencing an unprecedented boom. Leading that boom was Scott Hamilton, one of the greatest performers and entertainers in the sport's history. Roughly around the same time, I watched Todd Eldredge mount his comeback and recapture his U.S. title in 1995 (he had previously won in 1990 and 1991), and the World title in 1996. For a number of years, Scott was my favorite professional skater and Todd was my favorite amateur. Both brought something special to the sport; Scott exuded showmanship and took the sport to new professional levels with his tour Stars on Ice. Todd exemplified tenacity and incredible longgevity in an amateur career that spanned more than a decade (his first and his last U.S. title were 12 year apart!)

Over the years, Scott has done a fantastic job as a commentator for the sport, providing a perfect blend of wisdom, humor, and sensitivity in his telecasts. Todd now serves as a skating coach in Texas. I got to meet him at the U.S. Championships in Boston in January. He was exactly as down-to-earth as he always came across in his skating routines and interviews. He seemed like such a nice, genuine guy.

So, happy birthday to these two greats. Thank you to all you've given the sport and all you continue to give back! Cheers to many more!!

Scott Hamilton's "In the Mood" from the 1994 Gold Championship. Scott won gold, defeating fellow Olympic champions Brian Boitano and Viktor Petrenko :

Todd Eldredge's gold-medal winning "First Knight from the 1996 World Championships in Edmondton:

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