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Scott Hamilton Redefines Winning Both On and Off the Ice


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Scott Hamilton - remains the most recognized male figure skater in the world - after staring down the biggest quadruple jump of his life – surviving both cancer and three brain tumors. The Nashville resident, author, and broadcast commentator is in Pyeongchang, South Korea working as an anayst during NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics.

Hamilton says, “People would assume that because of my last four years of skating where I was undefeated, that I must really like competition. I hate it! I hated every single one! I’d go in going why am I doing this? Why am I putting myself through this? I could go out and fall flat on my face. I’m going to be mocked, ridiculed all those things go through my mind every single time. Then there’s this 10 minutes after you win. It’s like yes! Okay! Let’s get back to work. What’s next?”

Question: “You have to teach skaters how to fall?”
Scott Hamilton: “That’s the first thing we do. When they come to Learn to Skate and Skating Academy, no matter how old they are, no matter what, we go here’s how you fall and here’s how you get up, right. No, because you’re going to. And if you don’t fall, it’s like oh, you didn’t even try, well, you played it safe. You got to get out there and really feel the air, your blades under you, feel the ice under you, feel the movement, feel the speed. And that goes with anything. If you didn’t fall, you didn’t try. I fell 41,600 times (laugh). What do you do? Well, you get up 41,600 times.”

Question: “Failure! What’s its greatest asset?”
Scott Hamilton: “Failure is the greatest thing going, in my opinion. But you know, my victories haven’t always been on podiums, you know. My victories have been over health concerns. My victories have been over setbacks being “let go”, you know, all those things.  It’s about processing it in order to learn from it and grow from it and not just be so afraid of failure that you don’t even want to try.”

Question: “What’s the most helpful insight you would give to a young skater?”
Scott Hamilton: “Man, it’s embracing the moment.  It’s like I’ve always wanted to—then do it! This has always held me back! Then get rid of it! You know, it’s that constant pursuit of being who I legitimately am! I’m shrouded under all this toxicity and all this other junk that I’ve just accumulated. It’s time to start chipping away at that. And getting to be that person that God made you to be.”

Question: “Your new book, Finish First, why now for you and for the audience?”
Scott Hamilton: “Understand the process of winning! The idea of Finish First, Winning Changes Everything, it’s true! Winning in your life, winning, whatever that looks like to you, changes the trajectory and the quality of your life. And more people need to hear that message.”

Question: “Do we confuse winning always, Scott, with achieving?”
Scott Hamilton: “Winning is more about being your best self. And that’s it’s own achievement, right, you know? It’s like trying to shirk off all the things that bring us down. It’s really just taking advantage of our purpose. What is our purpose? What is—what do I have that’s unique to anyone else around me? How can I leverage what the Lord has given me in order to, not only improve myself but everyone around me. To understand your identity! To understand your calling and your purpose!”

Question: “You write from the book: ‘Amazingly, miraculously - I’m living a life that I never could’ve imagined. God has always promised to do more than we could ever ask. It’s just that so few of us take Him up on the offer.’ Scott, why don’t we?”

Scott Hamilton: “Too many people nowadays want instant gratification. It's all built on sand and when the storms come it’s all washed away. I keep hanging on to these Biblical principles and it’s all there! I’ve lived it! I believe it! And I really think what’s missing right now in our society is that people will start to pursue their lives. Not just pursue a goal. Pursue their lives! Pursue their purpose! Fall in love with what God has given you and who you are.”

Question: “How’s your health?”

Scott Hamilton: “You know this brain tumor that keeps coming back -- Craniopharyngioma -- you’re born with. But this journey has been miraculous. When they diagnosed me they gave me all of the different ways that I could deal with this tumor, through these actions, and prayer and exercise. And just do everything I can and the last 2 appointments with my physician. It shrunk. They don’t shrink. They just don’t. God gets all the glory. He can bring me home anytime he wants. He can. There’s something he wants me to do.”

Question: “You’ve seen both ends, currently with a tumor that’s shrinking. But you’ve had a reoccurring bout. You’ve lived with both uncertainty and hope. There are many begging prayers for shrinking tumors. What do you tell them when prayer is unanswered?”

Scott Hamilton: “The veil between us and the Lord is thinnest when we’re in our suffering. God is most – more present in our lives in our deepest suffering.  Man! We’re here by His grace and mercy. Our bodies are fragile but resilient. Temporary. Temporary! So we live our days joyfully. We live our days hopefully. We live our days faithfully! And in doing that – my goodness – changes the world!”

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About The Author

Tom Buehring

Tom currently travels as a National Sports Correspondent for The 700 Club and CBN News. He engages household sports names to consider the faith they’ve discovered within their own unique journey. He has over 30 years of experience as a TV sports anchor, show host, reporter and producer, working commercially at stations in Seattle, Tampa, Nashville and Fayetteville where he developed, launched and hosted numerous nightly and weekly shows and prime-time specials. Prior to his TV market hopping, Tom proposed and built an academic/intern television broadcast program at the University of North