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April 01, 1991 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-04-01

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The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - April 1, 1991 - Page 3

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Hamill
I 1
After skating into Yost, the former
champion talks about her longevity

Dorothy Hamill captured the
hearts of many when she took home
the gold medal at the 1976 Winter
Olympics as a teenager. Ten years
later, Hamill was still one of the
world's top figure skaters, after
winning three straight Professional
Figure Skating Championships. Now
she headlines her own tour, which
made a stop in Ann Arbor this
weekend for a show at Yost Ice
Arena. Daily Sports Writer Jeni
burst talked with Hamill about her
skating career, past and present.
Daily: You have won so many
awards and have accomplished so
much during your career; is there
one award, one moment, that you
will always recall as the greatest?
Hamill: Wow, that's a hard one.
I guess I would have to say the
Olympics is really the thing that
everybody else remembers most.
For me, I think the last few years I
have been able to do some kind of
fun projects, like putting The
Nutcracker on ice in theaters. That's
very challenging and a lot more re-
warding for me because it's creative
and it's fun to do; something that's
not really sort of the norm for fig-
ure skating. I guess that's one of the
projects I have been most proud of.
D: Did you ever believe you'd
continue skating for so long?
H: No. If you would have told
me 15 years ago I'd still be skating,
I would never have believed it. I
guess the-reason I do it is because I
really still enjoy it.
D: Has there ever been a moment
when you considered giving it up?
H: There have been lots of those
moments. But I think no matter
what it is you do and no matter how
much you love anything or doing
anything, you always have those
days. People just have those days
when you think, 'Do I really want
to do this?' But you know those
times pass. That's the way life is;
it's a series of ups and downs. But I
think the love of it, of skating, is
what keeps me going.
D: With your new family and
new projects, how long do you think
J* you'll continue doing shows and
performances like the one this
weekend?
H This kind of thing is fun for
me. This is different from what I
normally do. And this is great be-
cause I can practice at home, or
wherever I am, and just come in and
do this - rather than having to
spend months and months rehears-
ing, which I have to do for my other
projects. So this I could keep up for
a while. But I think when my daugh-
ter starts going to school, I'll cut
down on the touring and the shows
- cut down compared to what I'm
doing now anyway.
D: You wrote a book with your
husband recently and did some other
projects. Do you have anything else
planned for the future?
H: Well, for our new project
we re putting together Cinderella
that we'll tour in theaters. And I
think that will be fun, a fun project,
because it will be beautiful skating
and also family entertainment. Not
for little tiny children, but it will
be skating that the parents can enjoy
with a family story that children
will enjoy.
D: The World Figure Skating
Championships just took place a lit-
tle while ago, what is your assess-

ment of the current amateurs? Who
impresses you?
H: They all impress me; they are
really tremendous to see. It has
changed so much since I competed.
But I really like Kristi Yamaguchi.
I like Jill Trenary a lot; I was sorry
she was injured this year. And I also
love Midori Ito. I don't think we've
seen the last of her yet, either. Next
year is going to be really exciting at
the Olympics, with all of our
Americans and hopefully Jill and
Midori. It should be a really, really
exciting competition.
D: Do you plan to get your
daughter, Alexandra, into skating?
Do you see it as a part of her future?
H: No, I don't think so. I chose
skating when I was eight years old
and I was passionate about it. I
didn't want to do anything my
mother did, so I don't expect she's
going to want to do anything her
mother does, either. She's pretty in-

right thing?
H: I always sort of wanted to do
the right thing. The hard part was
not having a private life. I'd be tour-
ing with Ice Capades and couldn't
see my friends - I was away on the
road all the time. When I was in
those towns I couldn't even go to
the shopping center, I just had to
sort of sit in my room. People were
watching what you eat and watching
how you blow your nose and it was
uncomfortable; I was uncomfort-
able with that.
It's very flattering when people
want to know a lot about you, but
the only thing I'd ever done was ice
skate. I'd get questions on women's
issues and politics and, hey, ask me
about a double axle and I can tell
you, but I don't know anything
about those things. It was quite an
adjustment.
People think if you're an
Olympic Champion you must be

of sympathy or empathy for the ath-
letes that are caught. I'm very anti-
drug. I was very lucky not to have
any peer pressure like that. I guess
there were a lot of kids that did
drugs - I know there were a lot of
kids that did drugs - when I was
going to school. But no one ever
pressured me. I never felt any pres-
sure and I think sports kept me out
of a lot of that. I was very deter-
mined to do what I wanted to do and
excel in something that was impor-
tant to me and not just be one of the
crowd. I have a hard time under-
standing people who turn to drugs
as an excuse.
D: Very few athletes are vaulted
into superstardom like you were and
maintained it for so long. What do
'People think if you're an
Olympic Champion you
must be that great in
everything. As much as I
knew about skating, I
knew that much less
about everything else in
life. I was so sheltered; all
I'd done was skate and
eat and train for years. It
was a quick growing up i
had to do'
you think it is about you that caused
that?
H : I don't know. I think I'm
very lucky to have a sport I could
continue doing as a professional.
Football players can go on playing
for a few years, but you can't really
take that on into your 30s and 40s.
I happen to be in a sport that's
female - one of the only female-
dominated sports in this country -
so I was lucky, there, by choice.
There's amateur, which is
competitive, Olympics and all that,
but afterwards there's shows and
entertainment. I happen to be in a re-
ally nice sport that's kind to old
amateur athletes, to old Olympic
Champions. So I think maybe that's
why, because I can still do it. Mary
Lou Retton can't really go on even
though they've tried with gymnas-
tics shows. They really can't go on
and do that for the rest of their
young adult lives. I'm pretty lucky.
D: Your life has been kind of a
fairy tale to the public, but is there
anything that you would want to
change if you could go back? Is there
anything you feel you've missed out
on?
H: Well, I don't think I would
change anything because the mis-
takes I've made have just been grow-
ing up and you learn from those
mistakes. I've had a couple of man-
agers that I didn't really like, that I
didn't really trust, that weren't
very good for me. But I wouldn't
change that because I learned from
it.
I think the only thing I really
feel I missed out on was I never
learned how to play tennis; I never
picked up a racket until I was 30. I
never had those opportunities as a
kid, but then if I'd had those oppor-
tunities I probably wouldn't be do-
ing what I'm doing today either. I
don't think I would have changed
anything.

Mike Gill
Thoughts while eating
Easter leftovers...
While we all recover from the end of the hockey season, celebrate the
rebirth of the basketball team, and wonder if it's possible that Anderson
Hunt might transfer to Michigan, here's a question to ponder. The North
Carolina-Kansas matchup was billed the teacher versus the pupil (Dean
Smith vs. Roy Williams). If tonight, there was a consolation game be-
tween the Tar Heels and UNLV, would it be called the teacher vs. the
cheater? Just wondering.
THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE: Well, alright! Look at-
what I got here. I received a letter from a hockey pep band member. He- -
puts his return address on it (clue to all those suspicious: it's one of the'
University Streets), yet does not reveal his name. From the handwriting,
we'll judge this letter-writing soul is male.
Two weeks ago in Band Corner, I gave the hockey band some kudos, in
addition to faulting a few of their decisions. Here are excerpts from the
letter received.
Dear Mike,
As a member of the hockey band, I (we) welcome criticisms of oar
musical spewage. I know our music isn't always clear nor harmonious,
but as many have told us, we're always loud. In the balance between
loudness and musical quality, loudness may win over quality, especially
given the less-than-receptive acoustics of the venerable Yost Ice Arena.
The fans and team seem receptive to our antics. However, this weekend
we did have a few problems which, as your article shows, was embarrass-
ingly evident to all attending. I feel the necessity to explain our prob-
lems merely to break the mindset of those who might think our lacklus-
ter showing is typical.
We died in period two Friday.
Yes, as you wrote, it is so. Problems: We had to adjust to a guest con-
ductor (Gary Lewis) who wasn't totally versed in the unusual nature of
the hockey game performance. We also had to deal with the Cornell
(band?). We ran into problems. We have been asked not to play during
penalty breaks because that would drown out the announcement.
The Cow Bell. Yes we did end up playing over the cow bell because he
started up less than a second before we were to sound the first note of
our song. It is virtually impossible to stop 80 people in less than a sec-
ond when the air is already partway, through the" horn. We're sorry Mr.
Cow Bell (where is this guy during the regular season - he could get the
crowd going.)
I agree completely about the saxophone debacle. While they do sound
"real nice near," the problem is volume and carrying capacity - almost
nil with the sax's in Yost's acoustical nightmare.
Wouldn't it be nice to think basketball savings for not having to send
the band to the NCAA tournament would. be applied to hockey?
Seriously though, Mike, do you in your sports experience really expect
this to happen in Michigan sports? Hockey has always been relegated to
the list's bottom as far as $.
I can't sign my name because I wouldn't want to promote "dissension
in the ranks" - I might have an angry sax coming after me. Ooh! Scary!
Sincerely,
Michigan Hockey Pep Band Member
Thanks for your letter. And before all you out there want to voice
opposing opinions, hold the letters. I know a lot of you probably support
the company line, and probably get brownie points for getting your name
in the paper with a letter condemning me. But that's alright. Save the
stamp. Whomever wrote this letter, I feel sorry for you. You were too
harsh. I consider myself a fan of the band. The performances against
Cornell were not "embarrassingly evident." So let me take the time to
See GILL, Page 8

Former Olympic gold-medalist Dorothy Hamill brought her figure-skating
talents to Yost Ice Arena last Saturday night.

dependent. She'll probably take up
something entirely different. She'll
take up watersports or something.
I would encourage her if she
showed interest in it. It's hard
though; I just know what one has to
go through to be an Olympic
champion and I really don't wish
that on anybody. But if she has the
drive and the temperament for it,
then I think that's great. We'll see.
D: You weren't that old when
you won the gold medal. How did it
feel to have all those kids imitate
you?
H : It was very flattering, I
didn't understand it; I was 19. And
you know, I still don't understand
it, how it all happened. I just hap-
pened to be in the right place at the
right time. It was just a whole se-
ries of events, I guess. When I look
back at scrapbooks my mother put
together, it still amazes me. I used
to get letters from hairdressers say-
ing, 'Please change your haircut, I'm
so tired of cutting it.' It was great. I
was very lucky to have all those nice
things happen to me.
D: Did being a role model putj
pressure on you to always do the

that great in everything. As much as
I knew about skating, I knew that
much less about everything else in
life. I was so sheltered; all I'd done
was skate and eat and train for years.
It was a quick growing up I had to
do.
D: With drugs and everything
else kids are faced with today, what
do you think the responsibilities are
for high-profile athletes?
H: I think athletes have a huge
responsibility to the youth of ath-
letics, well, the youth in general. If
you're in the public eye, it's very
important that you behave properly,
I think. I don't think people should
try to live a lie. People that do live
lies, that do drugs and say they don't
do drugs and they promote charities
that are anti-drug and in the mean-
time they have cocaine and every-
thing - I just don't believe in that.
I have a hard time having any sort

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