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Dorothy Hamill in Munich

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 6:39 AM

March, 1974: The Dorothy Hamill “wedge” haircut will not grace magazine covers or be common in hair salons for another two years. But the young American figure skater who will make it famous is already turning heads. In the years to come, her look and style will be imitated by women all over the world and result in endorsements, beauty products and a children’s doll in her image. For now, she is a rising star in the figure skating worldthy 

Dorotoy Hamill became a world champion at the novice level in 1969. This success connected her with coach Carlo Fassi. The former Italian men’s skating champion has been coaching in America since a tragic 1961 plane crash killed the entire US team.

The 1974 world championships (see video) are being held in Munich, Germany. Hometown favourite Gerti Schanderl has just put in the performance of her life. When the lower-than-expected scores are posted, the crowd gets ugly. A chorus of boos rains rains down as sixteen-year-old US champion Dorothy Hamill takes to the ice.

The young skater is visibly rattled. She moves about the ice with her hands cupped over her face before dissolving in tears. She drifts toward the judges area, and exits the rink. As she is being consoled by her father, the broadcast announcer repeats variations of “she’s a very emotional girl…up one day and down the next.” 

The crowd settles down. Dorothy collects herself and skates back on. As the boos subside, the crowd changes its tone and begins to applaud. Dorothy rallies to skate a silver-medal-winning program.