Tom Gilson

Scott Hamilton: “I Am Second”

I’ve been listening to Scott Hamilton’s NBC Olympic ice skating commentary all week. He’s one of the best: personal, honest, gracious. Turns out there’s a side to his life I never knew.


Olympic Gold Medalist and figure skating commentator Scott Hamilton knows a thing or two about preparation and dedication. His sport demands that a competitor come as close to perfect as possible. No break or fault goes unpunished by the judges. Scott mastered the sport and its nuances to become the world’s best.

Yet as good as he was, he could not on his own handle some of life’s biggest challenges to his health. Cancer. A re-occuring brain tumor. In the times that he needed someone by his side, there was always Someone there. Someone he has grown to know, to love,. The one who introduced him to his wife and who has made having children possible. In this film he recalls a journey that many others are also traveling, and its telling never gets old.

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4 thoughts on “Scott Hamilton: “I Am Second”

  1. Scott’s message is very moving, and my heart is grateful to God for creating, sustaining, and blessing him. God has blessed me, too, through His grace. I have a few questions, though, about the content of his message, and what may be missing … I feel as though what Scott is talking about is God’s general grace to all mankind. I don’t hear any of the foundational elements of salvation: An belief in Scripture. An acknowledgement of our sin and our need for a Savior. Repentance. Salvation by grace. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I loved everything that Scott had to say, but why is this video being touted as a “Christian” video? I have heard a multitude of athletes say basically the same thing.

    Apart from God’s gracious forgiveness of our sin and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit — we are all lost — Olympic athletes, homeless street dweller, those who are cured of cancer and those who are not — all of us. I have to ask myself why THIS message was not in Scott’s video.

    Am I off base?

  2. He certainly named Jesus Christ as the one he relies on. That’s an important fact, not to be overlooked.

    I don’t think it’s necessary, or even possible, to preach the entire gospel every time we speak of what God has done for us. I certainly don’t do that every time I write a blog post!

  3. I listened again. Here is what I heard, in the very last seconds of the video: “Through a strong relationship w/Jesus you can endure anything. The only disability in life is a bad attitude. God is there to guide you through the tough spots. God was there every single time. Every single time.” This was the only portion of the video that mentioned Jesus.

    Here’s what I didn’t hear: What is this relationship with Jesus? How can you receive it? And the statement that “The only disability in life is a bad attitude” is heartbreakingly untrue. Our sin is our greatest “disability.” Until we agree with God that we are, in fact, sinners, and until we repent of that sin and throw ourselves on His mercy, we are eternally “disabled.” God does, in fact, graciously guide us through the tough spots: both the saved and the unsaved. He is good. All the time. But He is so much more than that – His love for us compelled Him to sacrifice His only Son for us, to ransom us, to draw us into a relationship with Him. He is not just for “the tough spots.”

    The Bible says that we should be ready, at any given moment, to give a quite answer for the hope that is within us. (I Peter 3:14-16) Maybe Scott gave that answer, before or after the tape was rolling. But if I didn’t know Christ, and this was what I heard, I do not believe personally that this video answered that question or told me where, and how, to find that hope.

    Please understand that this is not an indictment of any kind on Scott Hamilton’s beliefs: I really can’t tell, from this 10-minute video, all that he believes. None of us can truly see inside anyone else’s heart. My concern is simply that there are so many churches, and so many role models, who are giving lip service to this nebulous sort of higher power that has gotten them through some difficult times in their life, and who wants their life to be good, and prosperous, and easy. I don’t think that is necessarily true of Scott Hamilton – I just wanted to point out that this video, which is being touted everywhere as a CHRISTIAN video, does not share the fundamental point of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: God made you. God loves you. We have been separated from God by our sin. God paid the price for that sin with the death of His own Son, Christ Jesus. You can be forgiven and made whole, and YES – you can have a relationship with God – it is simple, but not easy. It is free, but not cheap. It cost God His Son and it will cost you your heart – give it to Him and just see what happens. He will break it and turn in inside out and upside down, and you will NEVER be the same.
    I live in Baltimore, where we have a great football team (well, maybe not last year, but we love them!!) and a great baseball team. Very often the media plays interviews with our players. It’s always interesting to contrast them. One of our nationally famous football players will quote scripture after a great play, shouting: “No weapon formed against me shall stand!!” Interesting. In contrast, one of our most famous baseball players, when interviewed, will talk about his constant need for the grace of Christ in his life, to guide him, to forgive his sin, to strengthen his obedience. There is a difference. I am not a judge of either of these guys. I just listen and wonder. It’s natural.

    I hate to think what would people would think of me and my testimony if my life were aired constantly in the media. It turns my stomach to think of my life being truly transparent. I am not judging Scott Hamilton – I wouldn’t dare stand in judgment on anyone. This is just one Christian questioning the wisdom of holding up this particular portion of Scott’s conversation as a “Christian” message.

    I really appreciated your reply — it gave me a reason to listen to the video again and really search my heart. Thanks.

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