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Push Dick's Button: A Conversation on Skating from a Good Part of the Last Century--and a Little Tomfoolery Paperback – December 10, 2013
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From the Back Cover
"Working as an ABC commentator for 28 years with Dick was a real adventure! I can NOW imagine what his mother must have gone through!"
--Peggy Fleming, Olympic Figure Skating Champion, three-time World Champion, TV commentator
"Dick Button is the custodian of the History of Figure Skating and its quintessential voice. He made the words "lutz" and "salchow" part of our everyday vocabulary."
--Brian Boitano, Olympic Figure Skating Champion, two-time World Champion, star of Food Network, author of cookbook What Would Brian Boitano Make?
"A witty, insightful read by the grand master of all things skating. I could listen to Dick talk about skating until hell freezes over!"
--Dorothy Hamill, Olympic Figure Skating Champion, World Champion, U.S. National Champion, TV star
"Dick Button is a master among men. In addition to being an Olympic hero for millions, Mr. Button is the voice of a generation with years of creating memories and bringing figure skating and the Olympic Games into living rooms around the nation, including mine. The honor of being within earshot of this marvelous gentleman has been my pleasure many times over, and now with this conversational novel the world can enjoy the same wit and expertise in the palms of their hands."
--Johnny Weir, two-time Olympic Figure Skater, three-time U.S. National Champion, TV star and analyst
"We've been listening to Dick Button talk about figure skating for more than 50 years, and rightly so. He is the most important voice the sport has ever known. Now comes his new book, filled with wonderful commentary, insight, criticism and humor. If Dick Button is talking about skating, we all should be listening, and reading."
--Christine Brennan, USA Today columnist, ABC News and PBS commentator, author of the best-selling Inside Edge
About the Author
Dick Button is widely considered one of the premier male figure skaters of all time. He dominated the world of figure skating for a seven-year period, winning two Olympic gold medals (1948 and 1952), five consecutive World Championships, and seven U.S. National titles. Button has since had a long and illustrious broadcasting career, and he became the first winner of an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Sports Personality – Analyst” in 1981. Button is a member of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and Olympic Hall of Fame. He is a graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and is a frequent garden lecturer. He has two children, Edward and Emily.
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Top customer reviews
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This book helps to make up for that loss. It is a wonderful account of Button's involvement with sport, of the things he loves about it and the things he doesn't. It uses the conceit that the reader is actually a guest in Button's home, sitting on his couch and watching skating with him. I initially found that annoying, but as the book progressed, I found it increasingly charming. Button punctuates each reflection with a digression on food and drink (popcorn, nachos, beer, scotch...) with the result that if you read the book through in one sitting you're likely to feel you've over indulged.
There's a lot of material here on the work that went into Button's apparently effortless skating commentary. Many readers will be surprised to learn that in fact a great deal of effort went into that commentary, particularly in the beginning. That part of the book makes it a nice compliment to Skating on Air: The Broadcast History of an Olympic Marquee Sport (another must-reading for fans of figure skating).
There is just too much good material in this book for any summary of it to do it justice. You need to read it. There are Button's observations on skating itself and then there are his observations on how the sport is governed. Button, along with Sonia Bianchetti, and other prominent members of the figure skating community were part of the short-lived WSF (World Skating Federation) a valiant attempt to break the suffocating stranglehold the ISU (International Skating Union) has had on the sport. What Button doesn't say (very likely because of a confidentiality agreement) is what spelled the end of the WSF was not simply the incredibly short-sighted failure of U.S. Figure Skating to support it, and the blatantly illegal move on the part of the ISU to disqualify any and all skaters who participated in any WSF events from ISU events (including the World Figure Skating Championships), but the fact that the then wealthy ISU hit the WSF with a SLAPP suit that forced them to close shop before they even got started. Nice, eh?
It is wonderful to see that Button is still going as strong as ever. I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel!
I don't agree 100% with Button on everything, but I am always thrilled when he points out how the IJS (the "new" judging system imposed by the ISU in the wake of the 2002 vote-trading scandal) is ludicrously corrupt and is likely to stay that way. If only U.S. Figure Skating had thrown its (debatable) power behind the WSF ... but it's too late for that now. The best we can hope for is that U.S.F.S. will miraculously seize the reins (history suggests this is not likely) and force the ISU to abandon the hilariously corrupt practice of anonymous judging.
God, sometimes this sport makes me wish I were a shot-putter.
This book is for skating fans. Your average Joe will be lost in the technical detail. And it's VERY conversational, so much so that his parenthetical thoughts and asides, while humorous, can be distracting at times. But he calls them like he sees them, and for those that always appreciated his accurate and entertainingly blunt commentary, this is like getting his play-by-play on steroids.