Olympic skaters look ahead to world championships, pro careers
When is a figure skater not thrilled with a gold medal? When his name is Scott Hamilton and his performance is not up to his own standards of excellence. Even with the Olympic gold draped around his neck, Hamilton wore a peculiarly empty expression after becoming the first American since David Jenkins in 1960 to win the men's crown.Skip to next paragraph
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The wispish Hamilton came here confident of turning in the kind of masterpiece that Britain's Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean produced in waltzing away with the ice dancing laurels.
But after barely holding off Canadian Brian Orser, who actually won the short and long free skating portions of the competition, Hamilton began looking to the future for real satisfaction.
''I'm not going to leave things like this,'' he said, already anticipating next month's world championships in Ottawa. ''If I couldn't have it special here , it will have to be special at the worlds. I have something to prove.''
Namely, that he is a much better free skater than he showed in Sarajevo, where he missed two jumps in his long program.
The program was the same one that had earned a handful of perfect scores at the recent US Championships - and that he had hit cleanly in 20 practice run-throughs leading up to the Games.
The best singles skater in the world, it seemed, had only to show up in Sarajevo to collect his gold - the one that 1980 champion Robin Cousins of Great Britain had told him was his if he wanted it in '84.
And Scott clearly did want it, stuffing his hip pocket with three world titles since finishing fifth at Lake Placid.
He got off to a terrific start here, unexpectedly winning the compulsory figures, which count 30 percent. It was the first time at a wolrd or Olympic championship that he had won all three figures.
''I was fine until the middle of my warmup for the short program,'' he said. ''But then it suddenly hit me that this was the big time, the thing I'd been working toward the last four years. I'm normally cool, calm, and collected, but I let the outside things seep in, and that upsets me.''
If not ecstatic, at least he had a sense of accomplishment, reminding everyone that medals are awarded on the basis of the best overall performance, which his was. Orser, a good friend of Hamilton's had been seventh in the figures, which, Scott notes, ''is where the sport really started.''
At the worlds, the showdown between these two will be renewed. Orser, of course, will be skating before an enthusiastic home crowd. But Hamilton is happy to be traveling to Ottawa, where he enjoyed skating in his first world chamionship six years ago and where he might now end his amateur career.
Torvill and Dean have announced that Ottawa will definitely be their last fling in the amateur ranks. They can pretty much write their professional ticket , too, after a gold medal-winning performance that left the audience hungering for more.
Their four-minute routine received a solid row of perfect marks for artistic impression, yet they talk about making minor changes before Ottawa. Such tinkering would be ill-advised for many skaters, but unwillingness to stand pat is part of their secret. They are always branching out, trying, as Dean says, ''to take the obvious and make it look different.''
The top US ice dancing team of Judy Blumberg and Michael Siebert, bronze medalists at the 1983 world championships, indicated prior to the competition here that that they were considering sticking around for another year or so in hopes of a high world finish - maybe even a world title.
''America seems to needs its stars before a sport is really born,'' said Siebert.