As a child, Olympic Gold Medal figure skater and sports broadcaster Scott Scovell Hamilton (1958-) was unable to absorb nutrients into his body and the illness stunted his growth. The experience taught him about tenacity and self-reliance. It made him a champion.
"The only disability in life is a bad attitude," he once said.
Hamilton was born on this day in Bowling Green, Ohio. With determination and passion, showmanship and dedication, he became an eight-time world champion (1981-89) who won the gold medal at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics. He called winning "the greatest feeling in the world."
In 1997, Hamilton was diagnosed with testicular cancer. With chemotherapy and surgery, he battled the disease to remission.
"Adversity and perseverance...shape you. They can give you a value and a self-esteem that is priceless," he said, demonstrating with confidence how he transformed his struggle into survivorship.
Hamilton faced death twice more, surviving a benign, non-cancerous pituitary brain tumor in 2004 and its recurrence in 2010.
"In skating, the first thing you learn is how to get up from a fall." Hamilton said. "So why fear falling?"
An advocate for cancer research, early detection, and treatment, Hamilton is the founder of the Scott Hamilton Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship (CARES) Initiative. His dream is to see cancer wiped out in his lifetime.
"The key to a long and happy life is, at times, a very short-term memory," he observed. "Out with the bad and hang on to the good."