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If you like Dorothy Hamill's story, you might also like:
Tenley Albright,
Susan Butcher,
Suzanne Farrell,
Scott Hamilton,
Sally Ride
and Amy Tan

Teachers can find prepared lesson plans featuring Dorothy Hamill in the Achievement Curriculum section:
The Amazing Olympic Games

Related Links:
Dorothy Hamill
Team USA

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Dorothy Hamill
Dorothy Hamill
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Dorothy Hamill Interview (page: 6 / 6)

Olympic Hall of Fame

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  Dorothy Hamill

How do you deal with criticism?

Dorothy Hamill: Oh, I take it all far too personally. I've got a much thicker skin than I used to have, but I'm one of those people that just wants to be perfect and do everything good all the time and make everybody happy. It's just not realistic.

It's a difficult proposition, living in a world where you're constantly being judged, isn't it?

Dorothy Hamill: It is. You're used to being judged, but I suppose you think you're always being judged even when you're not.

Looking back, is there anything you'd do differently if you could do it over again?

Dorothy Hamill: That's tough to say, because I've learned so much from the things that I would do differently. I'm not sure I'd have the same perspective if I could go back and change the things that I shouldn't have done. You learn from those mistakes.

What have you learned that would be important to kids today? If they came to you and said, "Dorothy, what would I have to do to do what you've done?"

Dorothy Hamill Interview Photo
Dorothy Hamill: Hard work, perseverance, passion, those are really the nuts and bolts of it all. Don't be afraid to fail, because we all fail. In this great game of life, you don't know what curve ball is going to be thrown your way. With all the success and all the money that people have, everybody has problems. Life is not easy. When I won the Olympics I thought, "Oh gosh, now I'm going to be able to get my dad out of debt. I'm going to buy my mom a house." I thought everything would be just rosy, but it had just started. All those failures build character. But I will say, one thing that my mom always taught me was to trust people, and I've gotten into some of the biggest problems trusting people that I should never have trusted. I guess you get a little bit cynical. I'm saying that at almost age 44. If I should live 20 years longer, I wonder how much thicker my skin will be. Still, you have to be able to trust people. That's where I still have a hard time, when do you stop trusting? That's a tough one.

Is it made more difficult by the fact that you have achieved some celebrity? You are an Olympic Champion, someone people seek out.

Dorothy Hamill: Yes. When we were young athletes we were amateurs. Recently they've been able to earn money as professionals. You're sort of ripe for the picking by the sharks, the agents and the managers. You're just fodder for them. That's a big part of it.

As you look ahead, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing our society? What are the important things we in America are going to have to deal with in the years to come? What's important to you?

Dorothy Hamill: Wow! I think of things that are important to me. I have an 11-year-old daughter and I live in Baltimore now, in the city. Children are very important. I love children. I think it's really important that we teach our children morals, kindness, just how to get along. There's so much crime. There's so much ill treatment of children. It's really scary. That's something I think is very important because, of course, they are the future. For me, that's a big one.

Does your daughter ice skate?

Dorothy Hamill: She skates a little bit. I have not been a very good mother in that respect. I've always discouraged it. Only because I was driven; she's not going to have that passion. I want her to find something that she loves, but she hasn't found it yet. Maybe she never will, but I think it's good to have something that you love in times of trouble. It's carried me through a lot of tough times, skating has. It's my release, it's my therapy.

Dorothy Hamill Interview Photo

What does the American Dream mean to you?

Dorothy Hamill: The American Dream to me is truly being able to do whatever you want to do. We're very lucky in this country to have everything we could possibly need, the freedom to do what you want, say what you want, don't hurt anybody. Freedom.

Freedom to skate, if that's your passion?

Dorothy Hamill: Freedom to skate, exactly. Freedom to be one of those brilliant students, be one of those gifted scientists, to dig for dinosaurs, or make movies, sing, dance. There's so much to learn, so much we don't even know.

You're terrific. Thank you. We really enjoyed that.

Thank you. I did too.

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This page last revised on Oct 19, 2011 23:30 EDT
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