Scott Hamilton returns to ice with 7-year-old son Maxx
It's been 31 years since he won his Olympic gold, yet Scott Hamilton in many ways remains the face of figure skating.
Problem is, his face and the rest of him have not been on the ice much recently. So when Hamilton was offered a chance to skate with his 7-year-old son, Maxx, for a nationally televised show, it was impossible to resist.
''I don't skate anymore, full disclosure,'' says Hamilton, now 57 and a fundraiser/campaigner for cancer research as well as a producer of skating shows. ''This is a family show, which I knew Maxx would really enjoy being part of. He loves to skate and at the rink the skating director calls him her assistant.''
Hamilton had not skated as a performer since 2009, and he spent nearly a year preparing and getting in shape for that 10th annual cancer benefit show - Hamilton is a survivor of testicular and brain cancer. He even resumed, at age 51, doing the back flip that audiences came to see.
This routine was a lot different.
''This was not a run-through of my Olympic long program, that's for sure,'' Hamilton says with a laugh. ''I did my thing. But this was great for me, a real father-son experience you can't beat.''
Scott and Maxx performed in Musselman's Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute, the first special in the Colgate Skating Series. ABC will televise the show on Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. ET.
They make quite a striking pair: the bald Hamilton and the red-haired mop-top kid. And they had a ball in their short stint on the Cox Convention Center rink in Oklahoma City.
But it almost didn't come off. Maxx had a playground incident and didn't get off crutches until two days before the Oklahoma City show. So the Hamiltons had no chance to put together anything intricate.
Even so, their stint on the ice is as much a show-stopper as anything done that day by the other stars of the show: Michael Weiss, Ekaterina Gordeeva, Ilia Kulik, Paul Wylie, Irena Slutskaya, Todd Eldredge, Naomi Lang, John and Sinead Kerr. Choreographer and former world-level skater Steven Cousins put together a routine ''designed with movement where we could come out and not be doing any heavy lifting,'' Hamilton says.
Still, Maxx wanted to do more than simply stroke around the ice. His dad agreed.
''When we were putting together our little piece, I said, `You want you to show people you can skate. I know you are not supposed to jump, but do at least a waltz jump.' So he did some little crossovers and the jumps.
''Then he asked, `Can I get the audience going?'''
Ever the showman - like his father - Maxx pumped his arms to get the crowd involved. Then he instructed Scott to do their final pose.
''He kind of took control of the performance himself,'' Hamilton says. ''Then he started getting a little out of control, like, `Can I run into the audience?' I had to tell Maxx we don't quite have the time.''
Hamilton decided to perform with his son in the Oklahoma City show as something of a tradeoff with Steve Disson, the producer of the Colgate series. It's difficult to get enough quality skaters to perform in shows unless there is some coordination between their organizers. Disson made sure not to have any performances during Hamilton's cancer benefit event. In turn, Scott - and Maxx - hit the ice at OKC.
''I am so pleased that Scott and his son Maxx starred in Musselman's Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute, along with the rest of our incredible cast,'' Disson says. ''Scott's talent, kindness, and warm, engaging personality are legendary, and I have treasured our friendship over the years.
Hamilton chuckles, then makes it clear this one was a one-off appearance.
''The least I could do,'' he says, ''was scrape the rust off the blades and dust off the boots, and go out on the ice.''