When is a figure skater not thrilled with a gold medal? When his name is Scott Hamilton and his performance is not up to his own standards of excellence. Even with the Olympic gold draped around his neck, Hamilton wore a peculiarly empty expression after becoming the first American since David Jenkins in 1960 to win the men's crown.
The wispish Hamilton came here confident of turning in the kind of masterpiece that Britain's Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean produced in waltzing away with the ice dancing laurels.
But after barely holding off Canadian Brian Orser, who actually won the short and long free skating portions of the competition, Hamilton began looking to the future for real satisfaction.
''I'm not going to leave things like this,'' he said, already anticipating next month's world championships in Ottawa. ''If I couldn't have it special here , it will have to be special at the worlds. I have something to prove.''
Namely, that he is a much better free skater than he showed in Sarajevo, where he missed two jumps in his long program.
The program was the same one that had earned a handful of perfect scores at the recent US Championships - and that he had hit cleanly in 20 practice run-throughs leading up to the Games.
The best singles skater in the world, it seemed, had only to show up in Sarajevo to collect his gold - the one that 1980 champion Robin Cousins of Great Britain had told him was his if he wanted it in '84.
And Scott clearly did want it, stuffing his hip pocket with three world titles since finishing fifth at Lake Placid.
He got off to a terrific start here, unexpectedly winning the compulsory figures, which count 30 percent. It was the first time at a wolrd or Olympic championship that he had won all three figures.
''I was fine until the middle of my warmup for the short program,'' he said. ''But then it suddenly hit me that this was the big time, the thing I'd been working toward the last four years. I'm normally cool, calm, and collected, but I let the outside things seep in, and that upsets me.''
If not ecstatic, at least he had a sense of accomplishment, reminding everyone that medals are awarded on the basis of the best overall performance, which his was. Orser, a good friend of Hamilton's had been seventh in the figures, which, Scott notes, ''is where the sport really started.''
At the worlds, the showdown between these two will be renewed. Orser, of course, will be skating before an enthusiastic home crowd. But Hamilton is happy to be traveling to Ottawa, where he enjoyed skating in his first world chamionship six years ago and where he might now end his amateur career.
Torvill and Dean have announced that Ottawa will definitely be their last fling in the amateur ranks. They can pretty much write their professional ticket , too, after a gold medal-winning performance that left the audience hungering for more.
Their four-minute routine received a solid row of perfect marks for artistic impression, yet they talk about making minor changes before Ottawa. Such tinkering would be ill-advised for many skaters, but unwillingness to stand pat is part of their secret. They are always branching out, trying, as Dean says, ''to take the obvious and make it look different.''
The top US ice dancing team of Judy Blumberg and Michael Siebert, bronze medalists at the 1983 world championships, indicated prior to the competition here that that they were considering sticking around for another year or so in hopes of a high world finish - maybe even a world title.
''America seems to needs its stars before a sport is really born,'' said Siebert.
Unfortunately, the couple finished a heartbreaking fourth here due to some controversial judging - and whether that will have any effect on those plans was not immediately known. Judy and Michael were in third place entering the last stage of the Olympic competition, but slipped a notch when the highly subjective free dancing marks were awarded.
Many Americans thought they were unduly marked down in some cases - with one judge even taking away points because of the music they used. But Siebert, while also disappointed, stoically pointed out that, ''This is a very judgmental sport. If you can deal with that you belong; if you can't, you don't belong.''
Ice dancing was the only figure skating event in which the strong US team didn't grab a medal. Kitty and Peter Carruthers, hitting a technically difficult pairs program, managed the first US silver in this Soviet-dominated event since the 1952 Olympics. Then reigning world champion Rosalynn Sumners followed in Linda Fratianne's 1980 skate footsteps by being forced to settle for silver in the women's competition, losing out in a close finish to an East German, Katarina Witt, just as Fratianne had done in finishing second to Anett Poetzsch at Lake Placid.
Rather like Hamilton, Sumners missed various elements in her free skating program, which counts 50 percent. But unlike Scott, she had not gone into that final test in first place. After taking the lead in the compulsories, Rosalynn lost precious points with a bad landing on one of her jumps in the short program , enabling Witt to move in front.
Katarina turned in a strong free-skating performance, and it was obvious that Sumner had to be at her very best to have a chance for the gold. Rosalynn made it close, but couldn't quite do it.
''If I had landed the triple (jump) at the end of my program, I think I could have won,'' she said, reflecting on what missing one revolution may have meant.
''She was feeling a little tired and unsure of herself, so it was best to do what she did,'' said coach Lorraine Borman.
A gold here certainly would have enhanced Rosalynn's bargaining position with an ice show. Some observers believe being queen of the Olympic ice can make a million-dollar difference at contract time.
Insiders report she wanted to win the gold and then pass up the worlds, but now she is uncertain about whether to compete in Ottawa. Her decision is expetced soon.
Elaine Zayak, Sumners's chief rival for several years and the 1982 world champion, was almost legislated out of medal contention when officials clamped restrictions on the allowable number of triple jumps, Elaine's bread and butter. Even so, she wound up sixth here, moving up via a solid free skating program.
Aside from the duel for first place, though, the real excitement in the women's event was provided by Tiffany Chin, a 16-year-old Chinese-American prodigy from San Diego. Tiffany, who knows how to smile and turn on an audience, was only 12th after the compulsories, but climbed all the way to fourth via an excellent short program and a dazzling finale. In doing so, she established herself as a leading contender for 1988 gold. Olympic results: event by event ALPINE SKIING Men's Downhill 1. Bill Johnson, USA 2. Peter Mueller, Switzerland 3. Anton Steiner, Austria Men's Slalom 1. Phil Mahre, USA 2. Steve Mahre, USA 3. Didier Bouvet, France Men's Giant Slalom 1. Max Julen, Switzerland 2. Jurij Franko, Yugoslavia 3. Andreas Wenzel, Liechtenstein Women's Downhill 1. Michela Figini, Switzerland 2. Maria Walliser, Switzerland 3. Olga Charvatova, Czechoslovakia Women's Slalom 1. Paoletta Magoni, Italy 2. Perrine Pelen, France 3. Ursula Konzett, Liechtenstein Women's Giant Slalom 1. Debbie Armstrong, USA 2. Christin Cooper, USA 3. Perrine Pelen, France NORDIC SKIING Men's 15km Cross-Country 1. Gunde Svan, Sweden 2. Aki Karvonen, Finland 3. Harri Kirvesniemi, Finland Men's 30km Cross-Country 1. Nikolai Zimyatov, USSR 2. Aleksandr Zavyalov, USSR 3. Gunde Svan, Sweden Men's 50km Cross-Country 1. Thomas Wassberg, Sweden 2. Gunde Svan, Sweden 3. Aki Karvonen, Finland Men's 4x10km X-C Relay 1. Sweden 2. USSR 3. Finland Women's 5km Cross-Country 1. Marja-Liisa Hamalainen, Finland 2. Berit Aunli, Norway. 3. Kvetoslava Jeriova, Czechoslovakia Women's 10km Cross-Country 1. Marja-Liisa Hamalainen, Finland 2. Raisa Smetanina, USSR 3. Brit Pettersen, Norway Women's 20km Cross-Country 1. Marja-Liisa Hamalainen, Finland 2. Raisa Smetanina, USSR 3. Anne Jahren, Norway Women's 4x5km X-C Relay 1. Norway 2. Czechoslovakia 3. Finland
70 Meter Ski Jump 1. Jens Weissflog, East Germany 2. Matti Nykaenen, Finland 3. Jari Puikkonen, Finland 90 Meter Ski Jump 1. Matti Nykaenen, Finland 2. Jens Weissflug, East Germany 3. Pavel Ploc, Czechoslovakia Combined 1. Tom Sandberg, Norway 2. Jouko Karjalainen, Finland 3. Jukka Ylipulli, Finland BIATHALON 10 km 1. Eirik Kvalfloss, Norway 2. Peter Angerer, West Germany 3. Matthias Jacob, East Germany 20km 1. Peter Angerer, West Germany 2. Frank-Petyer Rotsch, East Germany 3. Eirik Kvalfloss, Norway 4x7.5km Relay 1. USSR 2. Norway 3. West Germany FIGURE SKATING Men's 1. Scott Hamilton, USA 2. Brian Orser, Canada 3. Jozef Sabovtchik, Czechoslovakia Women's 1. Katarina Witt, East Germany 2. Rosalynn Sumners, USA 3. Kira Ivanova, USSR Pairs
1. Elena Valova-Oleg Vassiliev, USSR 2. Kitty and Peter Carruthers, USA 3. Larisa Selezneva-Oleg Makarov, USSR Ice Dancing 1. Jayne Torvill-Christopher Dean, Great Britain 2. Natalia Bestemianova-Andrei Bukin, USSR 3. Marina Klimova-Sergie Ponomarenko, USSR SPEED SKATING Men's 500 Meter 1. Sergei Fokichev, USSR 2. Yoshihiro Kitazawa, Japan 3. Gaetan Boucher, Canada Men's 1,000 Meter 1. Gaetan Boucher, Canada 2. Sergei Khlebnikov, USSR 3. Kai Arne Angelstad, Norway Men's 1,500 Meter 1. Gaetan Boucher, Canada 2. Sergei Khlebnikov, USSR 3. Oleg Bogiev, USSR Men's 5,000 Meter 1. Thomas Gustafson, Sweden 2. Igor Malkov, USSR 3. Rene Schofisch, East Germany Men's 10,000 Meter 1. Igor Malkov, USSR 2. Sven Tomas Gustafson, Sweden 3. Rene Schoefisch, East Germany Women's 500 Meter 1. Christa Rothenburger, East Germany 2. Karin Enke, East Germany 3. Natalya Chive, USSR Women's 1,000 Meter 1. Karin Enke, East Germany 2. Andrea Schoene, East Germany 3. Natalya Petruseva, USSR Women's 1,500 Meter 1. Karin Enke, East Germany 2. Andrea Schoene, East Germany 3. Natalya Petruseva, USSR Women's 3,000 Meter 1. Andrea Schoene, East Germany 2. Karin Enke, East Germany 3. Gabi Schoenbrun, East Germany LUGE Men's Singles 1. Paul Hildgartner, Italy 2. Sergei Danilin, USSR 3. Valery Doudin, USSR Men's Doubles 1. Hans Stangassing-Franz Wembacher, West Germany 2. Evgeny Belousov-Andrei Belyakov, USSR 3. Hoffman-Pietzsch, E. Germany Women's Singles 1. Steffi Martin, East Germany 2. Bettina Schmidt, East Germany 3. Ute Weiss, East Germany BOBSLED Two Man 1. Wolfgang Hoppe-Dietmar Schauerhammer, East Germany 2. Bernhard Lehman-Bogdan Musiol, East Germany 3. Zintis Ekmanis-Vladimir Alexandrov, USSR Four Man 1. East Germany 2. East Germany 3. Switzerland ICE HOCKEY 1. USSR 2. Czechoslovakia 3. Sweden
Medals won by nations
Country Gold Silver Bronze Total USSR 6 10 9 25 East Germany 9 9 6 24 Finland 4 3 6 13 Norway 3 2 4 9 United States 4 4 0 8 Sweden 4 2 2 8 Czechoslovakia 0 2 4 6 Switzerland 2 2 1 5 West Germany 2 1 1 4 Canada 2 1 1 4 France 0 1 2 3 Italy 2 0 0 2 Liechtenstein 0 0 2 2 Great Britai n 1 0 0 1 Yugoslavia 0 1 0 1 Japan 0 1 0 1 Austria 0 0 1 1