Top 13 U.S. Winter Olympians
These athletes took home gold, but also stole our hearts. Choose your favorite winter Olympian in our poll
- By Megan Gambino
- Smithsonian.com, January 19, 2010
Scott Hamilton (Focus on Sport / Getty Images)
As a child, Scott Hamilton’s growth was noticeably stunted. His illness boggled doctors, but with exercise, particularly his ice skating, Hamilton’s condition improved. Judges doubted that his 5 foot 2.5 inch, 108-pound frame could carry him to a competitive level, but what he lacked in stature, he made up for in energy and athleticism. Hamilton reigned as national and world champion from 1981 to 1984, and ended his amateur career on a high note—a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo. After the Olympics, he helped start the touring company “Stars on Ice” and skated professionally, wowing the audience with his signature back flip.