Dick Button was created on July 18, 1929, in Englewood, New Jersey. Elected to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1976, Button has stayed in his sport’s headlines as a notable television analyzer. Though his dad, George, initially driven his son toward ice hockey, he sent Button to train with ice dancing trainer Joe Carroll in Lake Placid, Ny, through the summer of 1942. Carroll urged the professional services of Gustave Lussi, a Switzerland-created skier turned skating trainer, and Button started training together with his new mentor at age 13. He finished the trifecta by claiming the senior division gold medal as a 16-year old in 1946, the very first of a record-tying seven successive U.S. Championships.
Competing at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Button became the first skater to get a double-axel hop during a performance; surprisingly, he’d merely successfully performed the move in practice merely days before the beginning of contest. The leap helped Button outlast local favorite Gerschwiler for the gold medal. As well as his Olympic glory, Button won his first of five World Championships as well as the European Championships in 1948, the past year Americans were permitted to participate. He remains the sole man to simultaneously hold the Olympic, World, European, North American and U.S. National titles.
Among his other inventions, Button is the inventor of the flying camel spin, where the complimentary leg swings about in a leap and becomes the focal point for a twist upon touchdown. Button additionally became the very first skater to land a triple jump in competition, which he used to claim his second straight gold medal in the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway. After his triumphs at that year’s World and U.S. Championships, the famous skater retired from competition.
Button finished undergraduate classes at Harvard University in 1952 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1956. He also continued to amuse crowds on ice by skating professionally with the “Ice Capades” and “Holiday on Ice” tours. In 1959, Button founded Candid Productions with Paul Feigay. Although Frank would produce several famous shows, including Battle of the Network Stars, Button discovered his biggest success in the media industry as a television analyst.
A couple of years after, he survived a savage assault with a gang of young men who went on a rampage in Central Park. Meanwhile, Button continued to achieve visibility as a television analyst, getting acclaim for his pointed, frank criticisms of skaters as well as their routines. In 1981 he was honored as the very first winner of an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality – Analyzer.
Identified man of the century by International Figure Skating magazine in 1999, Button fell while trying to dust off some old moves a year afterwards and suffered a fractured skull. Even though the injury left him with permanent hearing loss, Button regained use of his cognitive functions. He brought his well-known analytic abilities back to the airwaves after several months, while also serving in his new job as national spokesman for the Brain Injury Association of America.