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On This Date in Sports February 21, 1952: Golden Button

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

American Figure Skater Dick Button repeats his Gold Medal performance and wins the Men’s Singles Title at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo. Button had been the first American to win a Gold in Figure Skating in 1948 in St. Moritz. In winning his second Gold, Button delivered a dominating performance, beating Helmut Seibt of Austria, while American James Grogan took the Bronze Medal.

Dick Button was born July 18, 1929, in Englewood, New Jersey. At the age of 12, Button began training with Joe Carroll, who soon turned him over to Gustave Lussi who would coach him for the remainder of his skating career. Duck Button began winning regional junior competitions at the age of 15. By the time World War II was over, he was becoming one of the top skaters for the United States.

In 1947, Dick Button finished second to Hans Gerschwiler of Switzerland at the World Championships in Stockholm. It would be the final time, that Button failed to win a competition he was entered into. AT the Winter Olympics in St. Moritz a year later, Dick Button reversed the result beating Gerschwiler, who had been the host nation favorite. Prior to Dick Button’s victory in 1948, the United States had limited success in Figure Skating at the Winter Olympics, with several Women, winning Silver and Bronze medals, but never had an American skater won a Gold Medal the Olympics. In winning Gold, Dick Button was the youngest Men’s Olympic Figure Skating champion at the age of 18, as he landed the first double axel in competition.

Over the next four years, Dick Button became the world’s top skater, winning five straight World Championships. Including 1948, a week after the Olympics. Looking to finish his competitive career on a high note, Dick Button came into the Oslo Winter Olympics looking to make history again. After dominating the compulsories, Button was well on his way to repeating his golden performance. Becoming the first to land a triple jump, Dick Button waltzed to an easy victory, as Helmut Seibt of Austria won the Silver Medal and James Grogan of the USA won a Bronze Medal. Dick Button would go on to win his final International event, the 1952 World Championships in Paris.

After his competitive skating career ended Dick Button became a lawyer and remained involved with Figure Skating for years, participating in the Ice Capades. He would also serve as a figure skating analyst on television for the next 50 years.