Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1952

Dick Button wins second Olympic figure skating gold

On this day in 1952, men’s figure skater Dick Button wins his second Olympic gold medal. Button captured his first gold prize at the 1948 Olympics, becoming the first American to ever take home the men’s title. After dominating men’s figure skating at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, Button retired from amateur competition and later became one of the sport’s leading television analysts.

Richard Totten Button was born July 18, 1929, in Englewood, New Jersey. He began skating as a boy and went on to win numerous titles. At the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Button landed the first-ever double axel jump in competition and beat his Swiss rival Hans Gerschwiler to take the gold. He was the youngest man to capture Olympic gold in figure skating and the first American to do so.

Button dominated the sport that year, winning the U.S., North American, European and World championships in addition to the Olympics–the only person to accomplish this feat. On February 21, 1952, at the Olympic Games in Oslo, Norway, Button captured the gold again, landing the first-ever triple loop in competition and beating Austria’s Helmut Seibt. He won the national and world championships that year as well.

Button retired from amateur skating in 1952 and went on to perform with the Ice Capades as well as graduate from Harvard Law School. Additionally, he became a figure skating commentator and has covered the sport for ABC since 1962. Button was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1976.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Washington Monument dedicated

The Washington Monument, built in honor of America’s revolutionary hero and first president, is dedicated in Washington, D.C. The 555-foot-high marble obelisk was first proposed in 1783, and Pierre L’Enfant left room for it in his designs for the new U.S. capital. After George ...read more

Rockefeller imposter and convicted felon born

On this day in 1961, Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a con man who went by the alias Clark Rockefeller and passed himself off as an American blueblood, is born in Germany. Gerhartsreiter gained the public spotlight in 2008, when he kidnapped his young daughter and became the ...read more

Karl Marx publishes Communist Manifesto

On February 21, 1848, The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx with the assistance of Friedrich Engels, is published in London by a group of German-born revolutionary socialists known as the Communist League. The political pamphlet–arguably the most influential in ...read more

Malcolm X assassinated

In New York City, Malcolm X, an African American nationalist and religious leader, is assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights. Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, ...read more

Battle of Val Verde

On this day in 1862, at the Battle of Valverde, Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley attack Union troops commanded by Colonel Edward R. S. Canby near Fort Craig in New Mexico Territory. The first major engagement of the Civil War in the far West, the battle ...read more

Nixon arrives in China for talks

In an amazing turn of events, President Richard Nixon takes a dramatic first step toward normalizing relations with the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) by traveling to Beijing for a week of talks. Nixon’s historic visit began the slow process of the re-establishing ...read more

NASCAR founded

On this day in 1948, the National Association for Stock Car Racing–or NASCAR, as it will come to be widely known–is officially incorporated. NASCAR racing will go on to become one of America’s most popular spectator sports, as well as a multi-billion-dollar industry. The driving ...read more

Tojo makes himself “military czar”

On this day, Hideki Tojo, prime minister of Japan, grabs even more power as he takes over as army chief of staff, a position that gives him direct control of the Japanese military. After graduating from the Imperial Military Academy and the Military Staff College, Tojo was sent ...read more

Battle of Verdun begins

At 7:12 a.m. on the morning of February 21, 1916, a shot from a German Krupp 38-centimeter long-barreled gun—one of over 1,200 such weapons set to bombard French forces along a 20-kilometer front stretching across the Meuse River—strikes a cathedral in Verdun, France, beginning ...read more

Allied troops capture Jericho

On the morning of February 21, 1918, combined Allied forces of British troops and the Australian mounted cavalry capture the city of Jericho in Palestine after a three-day battle with Turkish troops. Commanded by British General Edmund Allenby, the Allied troops began the ...read more