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“Emulate only YOU!; I tell young skaters that they are the only one of them ever born to this planet” with Scott Hamilton

I received a request to shoot a short video for a skater that was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor while skating on a cruise ship in the Far East. I sent him a pep talk meant to remind him that he is a skater and we all know how to “get up.” Many […]

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I received a request to shoot a short video for a skater that was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor while skating on a cruise ship in the Far East. I sent him a pep talk meant to remind him that he is a skater and we all know how to “get up.” Many months later I was in Salt Lake City and a local news channel set up a meeting with this skater. He told me that my short video inspired him every day to rise up from his condition and fight for his life. He has written a book about his experience and I was honored to write the foreword. We never know how a small act of kindness can incite a huge response of positivity.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Hamilton, Olympic Gold Medalist, Philanthropist, Author and Host of the Live Your Days platform.

The most recognized male figure skating star in the world, Scott Hamilton has won 70 titles, awards and honors including an Emmy Award nomination, induction into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and a privileged member of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. In 1984, Scott captured the attention of the world with his Olympic Gold medal performances in Saravejo and since has shared his love and enthusiasm for the sport as a analyst/commentator, performer, producer and best-selling author (Finish First: Winning Changes Everything, 2018; The Great Eight, 2009; Landing It, 1999). He further inspires others as a speaker, humanitarian, and as a cancer and pituitary brain tumor survivor with the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation and the Live Your Days platform.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to your career path in professional sports?

I was very sick as a child. My illness took me to hospital after hospital for four years straight. We were never given a formal diagnosis for my illness but were sent home to live out my days however I wished. It was then, to give my parents a “morning off” that I started going to our brand new ice rink at Bowling Green State University. I took to it immediately, and miraculously my health started to improve. It became clear that skating gave me what I needed to rise above my affliction.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What were the lessons or takeaways that you took out of that story?

I think the most vivid memory was my first Nationals at the novice level. It was Janet Lynn’s last U.S. Nationals, and due to the fact that she was the most popular female athlete in the world, there was standing room only. There were 17,500 people in the audience and I like to say that I rose to the occasion… five times! I seriously fell five times and came in dead last! From there, I knew that the only way to go was up, and that loss fueled me with a fire in my belly that I was able to use to train harder and get better.

What would you advise to a young person who wants to emulate your success?

Emulate only YOU! I try to tell young skaters that they are the only one of them ever born to this planet. And since they are unique, they can only be compared to themselves. If they need to emulate me at all, I would recommend my work ethic.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

My parents were both school teachers and had very little income. And unfortunately, my skating just started to take off about the same time that my parents ran out of money to support it. A couple from Chicago — Frank and Helen McLoraine — stepped in to help support my skating financially and they became another set of parents to me. Even after Frank died suddenly, Helen was a constant in my life. She loved skating and I knew she also loved me like a son. Helen taught me how to grow up, be responsible and work hard. I like to say, “without Helen, I wouldn’t be me.”

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about what it is like being a professional sports player?

I think the biggest myth is that there is a destination an athlete can reach in their pursuit for excellence. Participating in a professional sport is a journey like no other. Attaining the level of “professional” means that the work is always just beginning. I have seen too many athletes treat their arrival on the professional stage as a sign they have “made it.” Nothing could be further from the truth. There are constant expectations on a professional athlete, and I feel the best way for them to approach their careers is “hungry and humble.”

Ok super. Let’s now move to the main part of our discussion. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?

I lost my mother to cancer when I was 18 years old. It was devastating! I was closer to her than anyone in my life. It was that day I decided to honor her in everything I did from that day forward. I became more successful in skating, which allowed me to become more influential in my pursuit to raise money for cancer research. Twenty years after I lost my mom, I survived my own bout of cancer and that taught me firsthand what was missing in that community. I then rose in status from “fundraiser” to “activist.” Since then it has been an honor to serve the cancer community in the many ways I have been blessed to do so, particularly in launching the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation to raise money for funding innovative treatments that attack the cancer but spare the patient harm. With global speaking engagements, my children’s book Fritzy Finds A Hat and now with the Live Your Days platform, I’m able to create additional conversations with all of them having some component fundraising for CARES or the cause in general which has been a great blessing.

What methods are you using to most effectively share your cause with the world?

I truly feel everyone has a story to tell that can uplift, enlighten or educate others when it comes to understanding our world and how to live in it. Through Fritzy, I’m hopeful families will have an easier time talking about cancer with children and to make the diagnosis a bit less daunting, as my mother did for me. With the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy, I’m thrilled to see people of all ages loving their time on the ice as much as I do. Now, with the launch of Live Your Days, I’m offering a call to presentness and not letting day after day pass by, just going through the checklist of life. It is about putting down your phone to enjoy the people and moments that God has given you because we don’t control the number of days we have on this earth; we only control what we do with them. In addition to the weekly podcast and 30-day challenge, there is great merchandise available on the site that offers as a reminder to Live Your Days, is great for holiday gifting and proceeds again benefit CARES.

Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

Live Your Days came out of an interview I did for People.com. I had just been diagnosed with my third brain tumor and shared my perspective. The response was beyond anything I ever could have imagined. We expected the story to be shared a few thousand times, but never could’ve predicted it would be seen by well over 35 million people in the end. In the interview, I discussed how I deal with these types of setbacks, and in that I reminded people that our bodies are extremely vulnerable, phenomenally resilient, but ultimately temporary. That no matter what we are facing, today is one of our limited days, and we have to honor that in every way we can.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

I received a request to shoot a short video for a skater that was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor while skating on a cruise ship in the Far East. I sent him a pep talk meant to remind him that he is a skater and we all know how to “get up.” Many months later I was in Salt Lake City and a local news channel set up a meeting with this skater. He told me that my short video inspired him every day to rise up from his condition and fight for his life. He has written a book about his experience and I was honored to write the foreword. We never know how a small act of kindness can incite a huge response of positivity.

What are your 3 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1) I wish someone would have allowed me to understand that nothing of quality comes quickly. I had to learn that the hard way. Failure after failure put me into a very negative mindset. It wasn’t until I lost my mother that I woke up to the promise that I am in charge of what happens next.

2) I wish I was introduced to true and honest faith earlier in my life. It would have prevented me from making some huge mistakes and from feeling out of control of my own life. Strong faith will give anyone the power to rise up from difficult circumstances.

3) Had I known I was going to live this long, I would’ve taken much better care of myself!

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. ☺

My parents were incredibly forward-thinking as parents and teachers. They taught me that people of all descriptions and backgrounds had humanity in common. We are a country of many races, religions and mindsets. Respecting people FIRST is a great path to reconciliation and harmony. I’ve always felt the best way to solve our world’s problems is to simply “love the person standing directly in front of you.”

If we all did that, the world would heal almost instantly.

Division is a product to be sold, and we are all being pulled into a fight we don’t want. Understanding that there are people in our world that want to control or destroy us allows us to recognize them for who they are. Let’s build that muscle in our hearts to not just look at a person for their “wrapping,” but connect with the “gift” that is inside each and every one of us.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

It’s not the events in your life that define you. It’s how you respond to them.

Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

Everything good and bad that has happened to me required a response. I have learned that there are situations where bad decisions can come out of good fortune, and great things can come out of very challenging times.

We have all heard about the horrible things that have happened to people that have won the lottery, or to people that have achieved great fame. On the contrary, we have heard the stories of people that have been dealt a horrible hand, only to inspire us all by rising above their circumstances in remarkable ways.

I believe that we are all designed to respond to great challenges much more than good fortune. We find the deepest and most powerful aspects of our character when we face those trials.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

It’s funny. I have lead this “Forrest Gump” kind of life. I’ve met countless people that I should have had very little chance of meeting. Whether they come from news, business, entertainment, the faith world, or politics. It seems impossible or even crazy to think that I have met every president since Gerald Ford.

My main goal in life right now is to better understand my faith. Possibly having breakfast with someone like Rick Warren or Chip Ingram would be something from which I would thoroughly benefit.

How can our readers follow you online?

I am on Twitter and Instagram as @scotthamilton84, plus Facebook as @scotthamilton1984, but I would love for people to visit www.scottcares.org and join our movement to change cancer treatment forever. I’d also be thrilled for people to visit our brand new site at LiveYourDays.com to receive the positivity and perspective we all need to claim each day as an opportunity for growth, personal power and contentment.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

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