Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hamill lends helping hand to Flatt

Since she began mentoring Rachael Flatt this spring, it's been the question on everyone's lips: will Dorothy Hamill ask her protégé to get a "Hamill wedge?"

"I'd never do that," laughed Hamill of her signature '70s haircut. "The thing I really don't want people to think is I am going to try to change Rachael, try to have her do what I did."

That doesn't mean Hamill isn't up for giving some gentle advice.

"I would love to take her to a hairstylist and find something comfortable for her; all the girls are wearing buns these days," said Hamill, who is 52 but looks far younger.

"Rachael doesn't have to do something that's the same as what everyone else is doing. It's important she find what is comfortable and works for her. If you feel comfortable, ultimately your performances come to life."

Helping to add vivacity and charm to Flatt's technically strong programs is Hamill's main goal. The 1976 Olympic champion saw Flatt win her second consecutive U.S. silver medal in Cleveland this January and was instantly taken with the 16-year-old's competitive fire and drive.

"I didn't even know about the mentor program," she remembered. "I heard about it from Brian Boitano in passing; he mentioned he was mentoring Alissa Czisny and Ryan Bradley, and I thought that was terrific.

"Then I watched the ladies at nationals and I was really impressed [with Rachael]. I remember thinking, 'what a fresh, beautiful face.'"

Hamill gave Flatt a standing ovation, which caught the eye of the skater's coach, Tom Zakrajsek, an old friend of Hamill's who performed in her Nutcracker on Ice tour.

Full article.

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