Scott Hamilton: The five times I was a little too excited

Each day this week leading up to the opening of the Winter Olympics (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC), PopWatch on Ice presents a Top 5 list from Scott Hamilton, the 1984 men’s figure skating gold medalist who heads to Vancouver to call his sixth Games. Today’s topic: The 5 times he was a little too excited in the broadcast booth. Check out his countdown, then tell us which moment had you a little too animated in your living room.

5. 2002 Salt Lake Pairs event when I reacted to the marks of Salé and Pelletier that ended up putting them in second place. I might have freaked a little bit.

4. 1985 World Figure Skating Championships. I think I was yelling at the top of my lungs during the whole Men’s event. To be totally honest, I think I was just thrilled that I was professional and not in the event. It was an amazing group of skaters that would have all kicked my backside.

3. 1992 Olympic Pairs event. It was my first Olympics as a broadcaster. The first event at that Olympics. I was awful. Every television critic wanted me off the air. So did I. [EW: Hamilton may be right — we couldn’t find any clips of his pairs competition commentary on YouTube. This clip is from the exhibition. We find him surprisingly contained, considering what he’s watching…]

2. Paul Wylie’s 1992 Long Program that won him the Silver Medal. I have known Paul like a younger brother for so long that I got very choked up at the fact that he had come so far and was about to see his dream come true. At least I didn’t sob! That would have been hard to outlive.

1. The most excited I ever got about doing the Olympics was when they hired Tracy Wilson to do the Ice Dance event. I have never really understood it and always felt stupid doing it. I could have done a quintuple backflip when I heard I wouldn’t be doing that anymore. [EW: Hamilton is lucky. What does one say about the “Aboriginal” original dance Russia’s Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin will be skating in Vancouver?]

More from Scott Hamilton: The 5 most memorable Olympic figure skating falls

Comments (42 total) Add your comment
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  • Rachel

    I actually have to agree with Scott’s #5. I hate the new scoring system and I blame him. =)
    No seriously I don’t think it was such a travesty for the Canadians to get silver.

    • tigerlily

      It was a HUGE scandal at the time.

      • Yougender

        1) Is the man waiting at Scott’s home? (If not, see qteiuson 2.)2) Must Scott meet this man before he can go home?3) Is this man waiting to physically harm Scott?4) Is Scott lost or otherwise detained?5) Does Scott have an available means of getting home?

    • mccliza

      Are you kidding me? Do you KNOW the history of this at all–“bribed French judge” ring any bells? This was a travesty of epic proportion and Jamie and David getting a “tie” medal days later did not remedy it for me. The moment was ruined and my blood pressure went up watching it again. Scott was the best thing about that night–his willingness to be honest, and honestly emotional. Yes, the new scoring stinks and the sport is worse for it, but it’s corrupt judges and Olympic officials that share the blame.

      • Q

        I wish they had addressed the real problem – crooked judges – instead of making the new system that is slowly killing the most beautiful parts of this sport.

      • Oh Palin!

        I agree – the new scoring system really takes something away from the sport. I now a lot of people who have stopped watching figure skating because they don’t understand it. Remember when even the World Championships were major televsion events? Sad :(

      • Rachel

        I agree that bribing judges is wrong and am glad the federation acted to try to eliminate that problem. BUT I don’t believe that was the 1st time it happened or that Scott immediately had proof of that on air. I thought his reaction on air was unprofessional as a journalist and unfair to all parties involved. If off air he wanted to get involved in the protest, great.

      • Lakia

        I SO remember this incident!

    • Q

      Isn’t it ironic that during the US Nationals ladies competition he got all excited during Nagasu’s program and pronounced her the winner – only to have the new scoring system downgrade her jumps and put her in 2nd.

    • Elizabeth

      I was living in Detroit at the time… and watched all the Olympics coverage on CBC (thanks to that infidel Dick Ebersol, the olympics haven’t been the same since 1996…) and the coverage was un-freakin-real! You need to take it easy on Scott – it was 100x worse on CBC.

    • Stef

      What I love about Scott is that he feels what you feel, but with a more knowledgeable background to back it up.
      In 2002, Scott kept saying the same thing over and over again, “they heard 5.7s”, which to him and most others means that the judges left room for a perfect performance, which Sale and Pelletier delivered. So I totally understand his emotion. He thought that Sale and Pelletier delivered what the judges hoped they would deliver. He just didn’t get the voting bloc.

    • Kate from Canada

      There was no doubt that Sale and Pelletier should have been acknowledged right then and there by the judges as gold medal winners. Even the Russians knew it. It was despicable behaviour on behalf of the judges.

  • Jenn

    I’m loving Popwatch on ice!

  • Q

    Where would we be without Scott and Dick Button getting totally carried away and letting us know what they really think? They are integral to the sport. The stupid new scoring system has tried to squeeze logic into a sport that should be based on stuff that makes Scott jump out of his chair. I LOVE his commentary, whether I agree with him or not. And I also love Popwatch on ice!

  • lake

    I think Scott gets excited way too often. He screeches/grunts on the landing EVERY time a skater does one of the harder moves (quad, triple axel) or has a shaky takeoff. I hope he is reading this and stops this before the Olympics. It is annoying and unprofessional. Occasional excitment at a great performance is fine, but not this grunting a dozen or so times a night.

    • Laura

      I know what you mean. He’s a little to animated and vocal and it can get irritating. But I really do appreciate that he is positive about ice skating and the skaters. He’ll point out what was good about a routine or why an up and coming skater has potential. Compare this to Dick Buttons who is SO NEGATIVE it’s insufferable. Constant sniffing criticisms about every move a skater makes, snotty and superior to the point that it seems he is casting a negative net over the entire sport. *That* I really can’t stand

    • OMG

      I’ll take Scott over Dick Buton ANYDAY. What I really wish is that NONE of them would talk during the performance and that they only be allowed to talk about the performance after it’s been completed during the recap.

      • Stef

        I LOVE Dick Button. He’s honest and funny and gives real criticisms, instead of just yelling “Triple aXUHL! Triple TOE!”

      • patti

        I love the way Scott seems to be holding his breath on every turn/lift & lets you know with his “wow.” what happened to the days when only one skater fell & you knew they were out of the running? Now all pairs have falls & can be gold or silver–NO FUN anymore.

      • Anne

        1980’s Olympic Champion Robin Cousins is the man you want then: he’s sooo knowledgeable (without him I would never have known about in- and outsides on spins) ánd passionate (you should hear him talk about Lysacek’s extentions after his short program’s jumps: land, travell… hold, hold, hold…..) and in silent awe (I love the way he gently sighs – Virtue and Moire’s free dance – when words are superflues)
        Most of all Robin has the good sense to start talking AFTER the program is finished! He’s exquisite in his comments, to use one of his own favourites. So Scott, no offence: listen to Robin, enjoy and learn…

    • Slake

      OMG! SO true! In one skating board people have the figure skating drinking game, saying “Take a shot anytime Scott screeches over a jump.” Well, by the time three skaters have skated, you’re already passed out drunk.

  • ger

    I’m taking my mom to the ice dance free dance final in a couple of weeks. I can only pray that I see something half as craptacular as that last clip. Might have to bring something besides flowers to throw on the ice.

  • Amanda

    I adore Scott Hamilton’s commentating, and I think he makes the events even more exciting. I love that he gets emotional. He’s a commentator, not a reporter, so it is part of his job to offer his opinions. He should not be remaining neutral. Yay Scott!!!!

  • strickens_girl

    I remember the one with Paul Wylie. He has always been one of my favorite male skaters and I think I was yelling at my tv too. Such an amazing performance from an amazing guy. I really hope he is doing well. We miss you on the ice, Paul!

  • Brittany

    I love Scott’s commentating. Sometimes I watch skaters I’m not very interested in just to hear what he has to say.

  • Joanna

    Scott Hamilton is such a good sport to send in this list! His love of the sport makes his commentary educational and fun for me.

  • Ruth Ann

    I like the comment on Paul Wylie. He always skated beautifully, but always fell. At the ’92 Olympics he finally put it together. A lot of people felt he should have won the Gold.

    • Sheila

      I agree — and I actually thought Scott was rather restrained that night.


    I’d have given a cadaver the gold medal over that overrated commie Petrenko.

  • Toddie

    I had tears in my eyes watching Paul Wylie skate that program. Scott Hamilton seemed actually understated for the amount of emotion he must have felt.

  • Lakia

    Scotts the best!

  • Nancy

    No ’94 ladies’ long?! Come on! “Dreams do come true! She’s been through so much to deliver this performance!! What a great moment for Nancy Kerrigan!!!” Classic Hamilton.

    • jones

      I really remember that comment about Nancy’s long program in 94 too. I like Scott b/c he is emotional about the performances.

  • prettypaula

    Loving Popwatch on Ice…and I adore Scott’s commentary…love how he really gets into it!

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