Skater Dorothy Hamill's Famous 'Wedge' Haircut

Its purpose was to look fashionable while keeping her hair out of her eyes

AOL Build Speaker Series - Dorothy Hamill
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Dorothy Hamill, the 1976 Olympic ladies figure skating champion, was known for her wedge haircut. The classic "Dorothy Hamill Haircut" short hair style instantly became a fad, and many young American girls cut their hair short so they could look like Dorothy. After she won the Olympics, Hamill had many endorsements, including those for White Rain hair products. Television audiences marveled at her skating but also loved her short, bouncy wedge.

Origin of the 'Wedge'

Dorothy Hamill
Dorothy Hamill's Wedge Haircut From the 1970s. 1970s White Rain Hair Product Advertisement

The stylist behind Hamill's haircut was Yusuke Suga, a New York hair designer originally from Japan. In her autobiography "A Skating Life," Hamill talks about how and when her hair was cut just before the 1976 Winter Games:

"The night before I left for Europe, I had my hair cut by the world-famous hairstylist, Suga. I always hated my short hair. There was one time when I was younger when I'd grown it longish and I enjoyed it, but it was easier to keep short— "wash 'n' wear hair." I had read about Suga in magazines and wanted him to cut my hair. I was aware of his masterful talent after seeing the chic haircut he gave Melissa Militano, the pairs skater who was also in Senior Ladies with me. My dad had written him a letter, asking him if he could cut my hair for the Olympics. He graciously agreed to do it, staying very late at his shop. Of course, I had no idea that this wedge style would become so famous. I just thought if I had to have short hair anyway, I might as well have something fashionable."

HAIRevolution Exhibition

Hamill's haircut was seen everywhere after the 1976 Winter Olympics. Skaters, gymnasts, and even non-athletes copied her short bob hairstyle. The wedge continued to evolve and remained a popular style.

In 2002, Hamill's wedge was part of the HAIRevolution Exhibition at a mall in Denver, Colorado.

Dorothy Hamill Doll

Dorothy Hamill Doll

Shopping Image

A Dorothy Hamill doll was produced in 1977. The doll, of course, wore the same hairstyle as Hamill: the wedge.

Her Short Hairstyle Before the Olympics

Dorothy Hamill
Dorothy Hamill Had Short Hair in 1975 Even Before Her Haircut Became Famous.

Tony Duffy/Getty Images

Even before she won the 1976 Olympic figure skating title, Hamill wore her hair in a short bob, cut carefully so it moved with her as she skated but didn't get in her eyes.

It Started as a Bowl Cut

Hamill’s wedge originally was more like a bowl cut that gradually shortened into the wedge. That cut was what most people thought of when they observed or copied her hairstyle. The cut's shallow, angled layering underneath created a style that encouraged movement and freedom.

Other Skaters Copied Her Look

Short Hair Like Dorothy Hamill
Many Figure Skaters in the Late 1970s Wore Short Hair Like Dorothy Hamill. JO ANN Schneider Farris Personal Photo Collection

Figure skaters all over the U.S. copied Hamill's haircut. In a 1977 photo of Broadmoor Skating Club's competitors, most of the skaters imitated Hamill's famous hairstyle.

'America's Sweetheart'

Dorothy Hamill
Dorothy Hamill during the Winter Olympics skating competition in 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria. Tony Duffy/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

After winning the 1976 title, Hamill was considered "America's Sweetheart." She became the most sought after skater for commercial endorsements in the history of figure skating.

Dorothy Hamill in 2010

Dorothy Hamill
Dorothy Hamill in 2010.

Bryan Bedder - Getty Images

Olympic figure skating champion Dorothy Hamill has ​continued to wear a short haircut throughout her life.