Scott Hamilton, "Landing It"

Reviewed by Sandra Loosemore

I picked this book up a couple weeks ago but haven't had time to post a review until now. It's a good read and I recommend it. It's at least as good as any of the other skater books out there.

Somebody (whether Scott or his ghost writer Lorenzo Benet or a consultant) did a lot of research in putting this book together. It seems unlikely to me that Scott really remembers off the top of his head exactly what jumps he landed in regionals or sectionals competitions 20 years ago, so I assume somebody was reviewing tapes or at least journals or scrapbooks to come up with this information. Anyway, one of the gripes I had with the Rudy Galindo book was that it glossed over the details of large parts of his career. No such problem here, that's for sure.

A couple minor nits that left me feeling kind of uncomfortable:

There's a lot of stuff about drinking in this book that doesn't sound too healthy and Scott's attitude about it doesn't sound very healthy either -- it almost sounds like he's boasting about his drinking binges in some places, or trying too hard to make himself sound like a regular good ol' boy.

Scott "outs" both Brian Pockar and Rob McCall, the first time I have ever seen either of them explicitly identified as being gay in print. Oddly enough, he doesn't say anything about his drinking buddy Brian Orser being gay, too, even though that's already public knowledge now. Is it only OK to talk about gay men who are dead, or something?

And, finally, the big nit. This book would have been fine if it had ended after chapter 21. But then there's an "epilogue" in which Scott rants about various things he thinks are wrong with skating, and so much of what he has to say is so nonsensical that I wonder how much he'd had to drink when he dictated this chapter to his ghost writer.

For instance, he thinks it ought not to be permitted for skaters from outside of North America to train here 11 months of the year and then return to their home countries for a month to represent them at Worlds. Just how does he propose to restrict this -- have the ISU attach a global positioning sensor to every skater and continuously monitor them to make sure that they spend at least half the year residing in their own countries? Not to mention, earlier in the book he talked about how wonderful and inspiring it was for *him* to be training alongside the best skaters from all over the world during the days when he trained with Carlo Fassi in Denver.

Anyway, ignore the epilogue. The rest of the book is good.

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