Apr 10, 2014
The Nashville Predators held a press conference inside Bridgestone Arena at their “All-Inclusive Zone” this afternoon to announce Olympic gold-medalist and World Champion Scott Hamilton as the new active principal in charge of the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy at the Ford Ice Center near Hickory Hollow Mall in Antioch, Tennessee.
“We have formed a partnership with Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton to run this skate school. This is the first time since his retirement that Scott has used his background to get back into the skating business and we are honored and thrilled that he has chosen his hometown organization, the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena, to team up with and start this skate school at the Ford Ice School,” said Nashville Predators CEO Jeff Cogen. “Scott will use his expertise and connection to bring in and recruit competitions, instructors, guest instructors, and staff members.”
The 55-year old Hamilton won a gold medal for the United States at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Compiling multiple first place finishes throughout his career and a 1990 induction into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame, Hamilton, who is also a current resident of Franklin, will primarily be in charge of the academy’s Learn-To-Skate and figure skating curriculum’s. As active principal, Hamilton is hoping to not just bring a world-class instructional academy to the Nashville-area, but to revive skating landscape as a whole.
“I know a lot of people in skating. Skating is a very small community, it’s a very connected and tight community. I spent the last year sort of surveying the landscape of what condition figure skating was in. I have this mentality where there is void, there is opportunity. Right now is a great time to introduce a new style basic skills programs to create new excitement in the basic skills industry. I’ve recruited a few friends to help me with the curriculum and we’re developing that right now. In the next month or two, we’ll be honing that and presenting that and marketing that. Right now, the main thing is to drum up as much excitement and attention as we possibly can with this new facility,” said Hamilton.
“Right now, the state of figure skating is in flux. There’s been a lot of animated discussion as to the scoring system that has been in place for the last ten years, Olympic skating, the health of figure skating. I see it and I understand there is more talent now, a higher level of talent than there has probably ever been, it’s just a declining viewership in figure skating. Instead of just watching it and complaining about it, wondering why skating has gone through kind of a downturn, I think it’s a really great time for me to roll up my sleeves and get involved. To brand a new type of skating program and to take what I view to be great skating and a way to develop talent in the way I was developed, it hasn’t existed for a while. I’ve got like-minded people that really want to help me put this together.”
Whether or not Hamilton will actively be an instructor at the academy is not known at this time, however he hopes to be involved on the ice, not just behind the scenes.
“I do travel a lot and my responsibilities in skating are broad and unique, but especially with the people I’ll be working with to develop the curriculum, I’ll kind of want to see it happen. So I’ll be out there quite a bit. I don’t know if I’ll be at every single class, but I am really hoping to be out there quite a bit,” said Hamilton.
Opening in August, the addition of Hamilton to the Ford Ice Center provides the rink with a elite caliber presence to tutor and develop the next generation of premier skating talent.
“This is a logical transition in my career. I’ve talked about skating for a long time, I’ve participated in skating in pretty much every level,” said Hamilton. “For this to happen, for me to start getting into developing skating and talent in youth is an extraordinary opportunity, especially that I’ll be working with the Nashville Predators, an organization I love dearly.”