Dick Button is a Babe Ruth-like figure in the world of figure skating. He won all but one of the twenty-one competitions he competed in between 1944-52. And on this date in 1948 he became the first American to win a gold medal in figure skating at the Winter Olympics, doing so at St. Moritz. He repeated in 1952.
Five American men have since joined Button as Olympic gold medalists in the sport: Hayes Alan Jenkins (1956); Hayes' brother David Jenkins (1960); Scott Hamilton (1984); Brian Boitano (1988) and Evan Lysacek (2010). However, Button is the only one to win the gold twice. Dick, long an astute and lively figure skating commentator for ABC, CBS and NBC (beginning with the 1960 Olympics), turns 85 in July 2014.
Like Broadway show tunes and Sex in the City, men's figure skating is often associated with gay men, largely because of today's stars' flamboyant showmanship plus the glittery Vegas-style outfits that they often wear. However, the fact that I wrote about Dick Button on this blog doesn't necessarily means that he's gay. (But eyebrows were raised in 1975 when he was mugged in Central Park near the notorious gay cruising area known as the Ramble.)
(For whatever reason the 3 used copies of Button's autobiography available on Amazon, Edge Is a Lean of the Body: A Memoir of Skating, are going for $890 apiece! More reasonable, at $23, is Figure Skating's Greatest Stars.)