Prior to World War II, figure skating was simply that, cutting pretty figures on the ice. But with his bold jumps and spins, Dick Button ushered in a newer, modern era of athleticism on ice. His record clearly makes him the most dominant figure skater, male or female, of the modern era. Dick Button won the U.S. men’s title from 1946 through 1952, the world title from 1948 until 1952, and two Olympic gold medals. In 1948 he became the first American to win the European championship, and it was promptly changed to a closed event. From 1946 on, he was beaten only once, in a highly controversial decision at the 1947 world championships, where he outscored the Swiss skater Hans Gerschwiler but was relegated to second place by ordinal scores. So dominant was Button that at the 1952 Olympics, he became the first and only individual to be placed first by every Olympic judge in every phase of the competition. Button was the first skater to perform several risky jumps in competition, among them the double axel and triple toe loop. In 1949 he won the Sullivan Award, emblematic of the outstanding amateur athlete in the country – the first winter athlete to be so honored. Button graduated Harvard in 1952 and finished law school there in 1956. He became an announcer for televised figure skating events but he also formed his own company which, among other things, sponsored professional skating competitions.