PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (WOOD) – Scott Hamilton is one of the most recognizable faces – and voices – of Olympic figure skating.
WOOD TV8 Sports Director Jack Doles caught up with him in PyeongChang to talk about ice dancing and his new role on the show “Olympic Ice.”
Doles: The short program just wrapped up. Three American teams are in the top seven, are we going to see them on the podium?
Hamilton: It seems so. When you look at what the Shibutanis did, and then [Madison] Hubbell and [Zach] Donohue, who put 0.02 of a point on them, it’s like you can’t even measure that, it’s 0.02 of a point. The Americans are really in a good position to win a bronze medal. It’s just going to come down to [Gabriella] Papadakis and [Guillaume] Cizeron trying to make up those two points they didn’t receive in the short program. And my goodness, [Tessa] Virtue and [Scott] Moir. That’s going to be a clash of the titans like no other ice dance, and it’s going to be a fun one to watch.
Doles: Hubbell and Donohue: They win the U.S. championship and here they are. What is it that vaulted them to this level?
Hamilton: I think it’s just being third at Nationals, third at Nationals, third at Nationals, third at Nationals. It was just one of those things where they knew how good they were and they just decided to go all in. Where they skate with Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon in Montreal, they skate with Papadakis, Cizeron and Virtue and Moir. So they see the greatest ice dancing every single day. They train with it and they’re able to set their sights on that. With how they’ve prepared themselves this year, their free dance is intense and it’s amazing to watch their relationship on the ice and what it does to an audience.
Doles: Do you think they’re motivated by not getting selected to compete in the team competition?
Hamilton: You look at the strategy on that. The United States knew that no matter what ice dance team they put on the ice, they were going to be second to Virtue and Moir. So you don’t really need to sub – where the men and the ladies – you really need to sub so they don’t burn out before they go in to the main competition. I understood the choice and the Shibutanis have had much more success on the world level than Hubbell and Donohue, but this year may be the year that Hubblell and Donohue have the Shibutanis’ number. But that’s why we skate. We still gotta throw down a good performance. You look at the score sheets and you look at all these hundredths of a point and tenths of a point, it all comes down to – if you miss an edge, you miss an edge.
Doles: You think of figure skating. There’s two voices: Dick Button and Scott Hamilton. How much do you love this job?
Hamilton: It’s fun! It’s great to be here, it’s great to be part of the Olympic movement, it’s great to witness history, it’s great to be invited by NBC – they’ve been really good to me over the years. I just pinch myself that I get to actually be a part of an Olympic broadcast in any capacity. I’m here to serve. I’m here to do whatever I can to help tell the stories of these athletes, because they work way too hard to not have their stories told.
Doles: The job has changed a little bit. Now we see Johnny [Weir] and Tara [Lipinski] out there. Do you miss being on that front stage, or is this fine with you?
Hamilton: I take what I can get. It’s not my job to give, so being here in any capacity, honestly, is truly something I’m grateful for. It’s a great opportunity to do something new. I’m having probably the most fun with “Olympic Ice” I’ve ever had in Olympic broadcasting.
I’m covering ice dancing for the first time in like, memory. Whoever is sitting on headset calling the event, that’s great. Whoever is up on “Olympic Ice” doing that, that’s great. We all serve the athletes and we do it the best we possibly can.
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