When he was two years old, this adopted child of two college
professors suddenly and inexplicably stopped growing, and
his health started to fail.
A team of doctors gave him six months to live after they
diagnosed him as suffering from a rare disease that inhibits
digestion and nutrients in food. Intravenous feedings of
vitamins and supplements allowed him to regain his strength,
but his growth was permanently stunted.
Confined to hospitals for long periods of time, until the
age of nine, he quietly plotted his revenge on the kids who
taunted him and called him “peanut.”
He recalled many years later that subconsciously “the whole
experience made me want to succeed at something athletic.”
Sometimes his sister, Susan, went ice skating at the local
rink, and he would go along to watch.
There he stood, a frail, undergrown kid, with a feeding tube
inserted through his nose and down into his stomach. When he
wasn’t using it, one end of the tube was taped behind his
One day, as he watched his sister whirl around the ice, he
turned to his parents and said, “You know, I think I’d like
to try ice skating.” Talk about two adults, looking at their
life-threatened child, with glances that were beyond belief!
Well, he tried it and he loved it, and he went at it with a
passion. Here was something fun at which he could excel,
where height and weight weren’t important.
During his medical checkup the following year, the doctors
were startled to discover that he had actually started
growing again. It was too late for him to reach normal size,
but neither he nor his family cared. He was recovering and
succeeding. He believed in his dream, although he had little
else to hang on to.
None of the kids taunt him and tease him today. Instead,
they all cheer and rush to get his autograph. He has just
completed another dazzling performance on the world
professional ice skating tour, with a long string of triple
jumps, complicated maneuvers, and athletic moves, capped off
with a racing front flip that brought him to a sudden stop
inches from the audience.
Although he has retired from professional skating, he
remains a coach, mentor and commentator revered by everyone
in winter sports.
At five feet three inches and 115 pounds of pure muscle and
electrifying energy, former Olympic gold medal figure
skating champion, Scott Hamilton stands as tall and as proud
as any winner. Scott’s size didn’t limit his faith and
reach. Don’t let doubts and critics limit yours.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll win every game or get
promoted in record time. Scott Hamilton certainly didn’t hit
every triple-axle jump he ever attempted, especially during
the initial learning phase. Success in developing any skill
requires a basic trust in your ability that should never be
allowed to waver.
You can stand tall!