Dorothy Hamill learned to ice skate on a frozen pond behind her grandparent’s home. Who knew back then that Hamill would become “America’s Sweetheart” with a bob haircut that inspired a generation of young girls?
“I just found something I loved to do, and it’s taken me to places that I never dreamt,” Hamill said years later.
Hamill took to the ice quickly and rose through junior and adult competition. At age 17, she won the first of two consecutive silver medals at the 1974 World Championships, but Hamill found stardom two years later at the Innsbruck 1976 Olympic Winter Games as she skated to Olympic gold.
After the Olympics, Hamill stayed in Europe to train for the 1976 World Championships, where she won another gold medal in Gothenburg, Sweden. Upon returning to the United States, she was amazed at the newspaper headlines and parades in her honor.
“One of the reasons I took up skating was because I was really shy,” Hamill said in an interview. “I was a terrible student, and I loved music and dance, but I couldn’t sing and I couldn’t dance, so skating was kind of my in-between. And I love the cold air; I just love being alone and solo out there in my own little world. After The Olympics, all that changed, because all of a sudden, my cover was blown.
Following her World Championship win, Hamill starred in the Ice Capades and other traveling shows. She was chosen to carry the Olympic torch into the stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games.