Dick Button Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
Childhood And Early Life
American Olympic gold medalist figure skater Dick Button was born Richard Totten Button in Englewood, New Jersey on the 18 July 1929.
After graduating from Harvard University in 1952, Dick Button enrolled at Harvard Law School and qualified in 1956.
Rise To Fame
Dick Button was encouraged by his family to play sport, and in 1942 he began training within ice-dancing with Joe Carroll. Carroll recommended Button train with Gustave Lussi, a Swiss skating coach and under Lussi’s tutelage, at 16 years of age, Button won his first U.S. Championship in 1946. His dominance in the sport led him to win the U.S. title annually until 1952. Button also won the world title every year between 1948 and 1952.
At the 1948 Winter Olympics in Switzerland, Button won gold and the same year he won the World Championship and the European Championship. Button made history by becoming the first man to hold the North American and U.S. titles as well as the Olympic, World and European titles. In 1952 at the Winter Olympics in Norway, he won a second gold medal.
Button retired from the sport in 1952 and pursued a successful career. As well as skating professionally, Button established a production company which produced sports programmes for television. In 1960, Button became involved in the media as a television commentator for both international and national skating events.
Awards And Achievements
In 1948 Button became the first and only American to win the European championship. After his win, the competition was closed to non-Europeans. Then in 1949, Button was presented with the Sullivan Award for being the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Button was nominated and elected into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1976.
Button won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway for the skating individual men’s event and repeated this feat at the Winter Olympics St Moritz, Switzerland in 1952.
Dick Button was married to Slavka Kohout, and the couple had two children together, a son and a daughter.
Button was assaulted in Central Park in 1978 and sustained a head injury. Then in 2000 he fell and fractured his skill at a public ice rink which caused a brain injury. Once recovered, Button served as a spokesman for the Brain Injury Association of America.
After retiring from the sport, Dick Button formed his own production company which was involved in the televising of both national and international sporting events. He was also a successful sports commentator and analyst.