The girl next door is troubled. Not deeply and permanently scarred it appears, nothing that will keep her from gliding about Capital Centre with all those axels and camels that won your heart from Innsbruck. Simply put, Dorothy Hamill, 20, skated into real world less than a year ago and discovered. . .
"A lot of people are coming after me for money I didn't know me. It's kinda scary. More people are trying to take money away from me than I know what to do with."
One she does know is her former coach for four years, Carlo Fassi, who has sued for alleged unpaid training fees and a part of her estimated $1 million for joining Scooby-Doo and Huckleberry Hound in Ice Capades for two years. Also, various media hounds are in a snit over her alleged limited access, although you practically had to boot her put of the National Press Club yesterday.
"The thing that upsets me is that he (Fassi) didn't even write to me money," said Hamill, here for 18 performances through Feb. 13. "He didn't even suggest I owned him. Instead, hiws lawyers sent me a bill."
From the quotes drifting over the wires after she won the gold medal at the '76 winter games, one assumed Fassi molded Hamill as he apparently had the heroine of the '68 Olympics, Peggy Fleming.
No, Hamill said yesterday, "He was only responsible for my compulsory figures. Other coaches helped me with free skating, which is what I am known for," she mentioned Peter Burrows as the coach most responsible for the final, successful pre-Olympic push and said: "My father paid for every lesson I ever got."
But that was the only icy moment for Hamill who watched a film clip of her Olympian performance at Innsbruck from behind a partially-glassed door before a press session yesterday. Her nose nearly pressed against the window, she seemed more clinical than ethusiastic over a rare glimpse of herself as others view her.
"It was kind of exciting," she admitted, adding, "I don't see me as everyone else pictures Olympics. I don't know how people see me. If people think of me that way (as America's Sweetheart) fine."
The last time Hamill was in Washington she met Queen Elizabeth and President Ford, and yesterday she extended an invitation to President Carter to visit Capital Centre for a show if he cares to come in out of the cold.
In total, she enjoys Ice Capades "very much" and said her two routines (the first lasting for minutes and the second three minutes) include all her Olympian moves "although it's a little more theatrical.
"Nerves? I don't think I'll ever got over nerves. And opening night it's always a little worse, because it's after a day off, it's a new ice and a new building. And this is more wearing physically than amateur skating.
"You have to get 'up' each day, and there's an hour between my routines, just enough to let down, so I've got to get back 'up' again. It's very demanding, especially Saturdays, when we do three shows. Before, I'd work six hours a day on compulsories and an hour on free skating, and I used one routine weach spring."
Although she often keeps company with Dean Martin Jr., Hamill calls herself "something of a loner" who would enjoy books even more if reading did not lead to headaches. She said a new secretary-companion, Kathy McVey, had just been hired. Are they friend?
"We are now."
Hamill said she opted for Ice Capades "because it was a chance to pay people for their help (literally, because that gold medal cost an estimated $75,000 in training-related expenses over the years). I'm helping my brother, Sandy, through medical school, and I also knew I wanted to skate, not teach, and this was the only way I could see to do it."
Also, she and the hair-care firm for whom she acts as pitchperson are establishing a scholarship to help amateur skaters with rink and coaching expenses. And she said her future will include teaching blind youngsters to skate. Then she spoke of a dream that no longer occurs but which Hamill watchers and anyone with Olympian notions will find revealing.
"In the compulsories, both circles have to be exact," she said, "and often I'd dream that one circle was really tiny and the other was huge. I could never get around it, no matter what I'd do.It was why too big."