SARAJEVO. Yugoslavia--Soon Hamilton, dressed in the colors of the U. S. flag. Won America's first men's figure skating gold medal in 24 years yesterday at the XIV Olympic Winter Games.
Canadian Brian Orser won the silver medal and Czeehoslovakia's Jozef Sobovcik took the bronze.
David Jenkins was the last American man to win a gold medal in figure skating when he won the event in 1960.
It was the third gold medal for the U.S. in these Games and the fifth overall. After receiving his medal. Hamilton skated around the Zetra Arena rink, carrying the American flag on a long staff.
In winning the gold, Hamilton, 25, of Denver, a three-time world champion did not skate his best. In fact, he was outskated in both the short and the freestyle programs by Orser, the Canadian champion.
Hamilton usually completes five triple jumps in his final program but he popped out of a triple flip and that cost him point deductions for technical merit. Instead of three revolutions he only did one. Had he not been winning by such a large margin after the compulsory figures, he might have lost the medal that America had expected him to win for some time.
Orser, on the other hand, skated a far more technically difficult program and landed a triple axel jump, something very few competitors attempt.
Brian Boitano of Sunnyvale, Calif., skated a very strong final program and finished fifth overall.