At the 1948 Winter Olympics, Button led Hans Gerschwiler by 29.6 points following the figures portion of the competition, having won four of the five figures. Button had been attempting the double Axel jump in practice but have never landed in. In practice on the day before the free skating event, Button landed one in practice for the first time. He decided to put it into his free skate for the next day. Button landed it in competition, becoming the first skater in the world to land it in competition. Button got eight firsts and two seconds, for a total of 10 places; Gerschwiler had 23. That combined with the figures results gave Button the gold medal. He became, and remains, the youngest man to win the Olympic gold in figure skating. Button went on to the 1948 World Championships, where he faced Gerschwiler for the last time. Button won the event. At the time, the U.S. Championships were held after the World Championships, and Button finished his season by defending his national title.
At the 1952 Winter Olympics, Button had the lead after figures, with nine first places, over Helmut Seibt. Button's point total was 1,000.2 to Seibt's 957.7. During his free skate, Button landed the first triple jump to be landed in competition when he landed his triple loop. He then went on to defend his titles at the World Championships and U.S. Championships.