Figure skating is a lyrical sport that causes so many people to watch in awe. So many of the world’s most famous ice dancers have blown our minds with their impressive moves, but a question comes to mind. What are these talented athletes up to these days? Some have continued to embrace the sport, while others have developed their professional lives outside of the world of skating.
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While many figure skaters have used their skating successes to blast off into a continued life of figure skating, many others have been followed by scandals in their professional and personal lives. Some were graced with luck while others went down a dark path. Read ahead to see what has become of your favorite figure skating stars!
Former figure skater Katarina Witt made her mark in the sport when she became the first female since 1936 to win two consecutive singles at the Winter Olympics. She began skating at the young age of five and quickly attracted East German athletic officials who placed her in a special training program. Initially representing East Germany, she reigned victorious in 1984 in Sarajevo and 1988 in Calgary.
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She was majestic in her performances. Many referred to her shows as flirtatious and graceful. She won four world titles, in 1984-1985 and 1987-1988. She also rocked the European skating scene, winning six European championships.
Katarina Witt – Now
The fall of East Germany allowed Witt to pursue any path she chose outside of figure skating. She appeared in Playboy magazine, published a memoir entitled Only With Passion, and had a biographical film produced by ESPN about her life both before and after Germany was unified. With all the changes the citizens of East Germany would endure, they depended on Katarina Witt to raise their spirits.
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She was instrumental in efforts to have the city of Munich host the 2018 Winter Olympics but was ultimately unsuccessful as the event ended up being hosted in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Her passion for her country is evident through her efforts. Maybe next time, Munich!
Tara Lipinski made history and became a household name as the youngest ice skater ever to win the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. She became the youngest athlete in any sport to achieve this honor and continued to blow our minds as she became the sport’s World Champion in 1997 and the Champion Series Final champion in 1997 and 1998.
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The Philadelphia native kicked off her life in figure skating with roller skating lessons at the young age of three. She moved onto the ice and won her age group’s national championship title by the age of 9.
Tara Lipinski – Now
Merely years after peaking in the world of figure skating, Lipinski finished competing and began touring with ice dancing shows such as Stars on Ice. She became a commentator for NBC Sports, alongside her best friend and fellow athlete Johnny Weir.
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. Photo by Dia Dipasupil / Chruchill Downs / Getty Images
Both have made significant efforts to bring the sport to a new and younger audience. She worked to produce a figure skating drama series on Hulu in 2016, though it never came to fruition and remains untitled to this day.
Nicole Bobek may have skated her way into our hearts, but she did not have the easiest time before her Olympic debut. Gold medalist Scott Hamilton said, “she lights up the building like nobody else.”
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Bobek graced spectators as part of a powerful trio alongside Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski. The three were expected to clean up in 1998; however, she was not awarded the successes she hoped for. She had developed a reputation for blowing off practice and being undisciplined. Nevertheless, she persisted and continued with her passion for skating in a number of different ways, all centered around performance and entertainment.
Nicole Bobek – Now
Unfortunately, the future was not too kind to Bobek. She found success as a pro for a period of time; however, she was arrested in 2009 for distributing hard drugs. She was given probation and awarded a second chance. She cleaned up her act and broke into circus performance.
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Moving forward, Nicole Bobek transitioned her passion for skating into a passion for circus performance. She performed a notable hoop routine in a skating show hosted by Nancy Kerrigan. She now uses her skills to help junior hockey players become stronger skaters.
Sasha Cohen is a champion three times over. Though she received silver at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, she was unable to return to the U.S. National Team for her third Olympic competition in 2010.
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She was not sure of her next move and finally decided to retire from competitive figure skating. She had “missed that crystal-clear sense of purpose and direction,” she said. “Once you leave the world of an elite athlete, that clarity is hard to find.”
Sasha Cohen – Now
Since moving on from figure skating, Sasha Cohen has tried her hand at acting. She made notable appearances on shows such as CSI: New York and the movie Blazing Saddles. She supported the entertainment industry as a guest correspondent at the Academy Awards.
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She pursued her intellectual passion and received her degree in Political Science from Columbia University in 2016. That same year, Cohen was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Much like her counterparts on this list, she made appearances in the film world, notably in films like Blades of Glory.
Michelle Kwan helped the world bring in the 2000s as an up-and-coming figure skating sensation in the U.S. At the young age of 18 years old, she debuted at the 1998 Olympics, ringing in her victory with a silver medal, followed by a bronze victory in 2002.
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Despite Olympic fame, she has made a name for herself with not one, not two, but five World Championship titles. This has led her to be defined as one of the most successful competitors in the history of U.S. figure skating. Her skating career came to an end after she sustained a severe injury in 2006.
Michelle Kwan – Now
As a result of her injury, Kwan focused on her academic career. She went on to study at the University of Denver and Tufts University. She even went on to throw her hat into the political ring when she worked as a coordinator on a presidential campaign. She shifted 180 degrees to pursue a new passion in her life.
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She used these experiences to help the nation grow as a staff member for the U.S. Department of State’s Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau. This professional experience led her to meet her husband, Clay Pell, a White House National Security Staff member.
Peggy Fleming had a family who stretched themselves thin to allow her to pursue her passion. Her parents sewed her outfits, and even relocated the family multiple times to find the best training possible for their daughter. Peggy Flemings biggest triumph came in 1968 at the Winter Olympics in Grenoble. It was here that she won the gold for Team U.S. in the ladies singles. Amazingly, it was the only gold that Team U.S. won in the entire tournament.
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In her career, Fleming has won the World Championship three times. Just two years after winning gold at the Winter Olympics, she tied the knot with her teenage sweetheart, Greg Jenkins, who was a former amateur figure skater.
Peggy Fleming – Now
In the fifty years since Peggy Fleming became an Olympic champion, she has both overcome struggles and lived an incredibly full life. She survived breast cancer in the ’90s and raised a family with her husband. She has two sons, Andy and Todd.
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While living in California, the couple owned and ran a winery which produced upwards of 2,000 cases of wine per year. Now, the two have moved into retirement and are enjoying their golden years together. Fleming has also written a book, The Long Program: Skating Toward Life’s Victories.
Torvill and Dean
This iconic duo hails from the United Kingdom. They remain among the best known skaters to come from the nation. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, often referred to as “Torvill and Dean,” had some of the most distinguished skating careers of all time.
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They won 18 medals in their competitive career, and 16 were gold. Their appearance in the 1984 Winter Olympics made history after they became the highest scoring figure skaters of all time. Their scores were unmatched and a turning point in the sport of figure skating.
Torvill and Dean – Now
Their career did not have the ending they’d hoped for. After they won bronze at the 1984 Olympics, they remained prominent in the sport. They toured with ice shows like Stars on Ice after retirement and reprised their legendary Bolero performance once again in Sarajevo in 2014. To this day, the duo is known for their renowned careers.
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Both Torvill and Dean are married with two kids each. In 2006, they reunited for Dancing on Ice. The two are still close to this day. They still have not danced with other partners, with the exception of charity events here and there.
Oksana Baiul was a legend in her home country, to put things lightly. Hailing from Ukraine, Baiul was a mere 16 years old when she won the gold medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. As she was training for an event, she collided with a German skater, Tanja Szewczenko, and suffered a gash in her left shin that would later require stiches.
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She skated alongside other legends like Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan, and Katarina Witt. They all competed against each other, but Baiul reigned supreme, taking home the gold for Ukraine. She also won the title of World Champion in female singles in 1993.
Oksana Baiul – Now
The teen figure skating star did not fare so well after her victories. She struggled with alcohol abuse issues in the ’90s. She appeared in more ice performances throughout her career and in related reality shows, like Master of Champions. She even was a key player in Season 13 of The Apprentice! In 2018, she starred in a biopic called SONJA: Queen of Ice, playing the Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie.
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She relocated to the United States and developed her own line of figure skating apparel and accessories. She remains the only Ukrainian from either gender to reach gold at the Olympic Winter Games.
A key highlight from the 1998 Olympics was Surya Bonaly’s one-of-a-kind single-bladed backflip (on ice!) which made everyone in the audience lose their minds. She believed that the Olympic panel had a racial bias against her during her performances. Understandably, she did not want anything other than her abilities to determine her successes in the sport.
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As a result, she decided to push the limits and try the move, which was an illegal move in figure skating. No one since has performed the move at the Olympics. Bonaly has won the French Championship nine times during her lengthy career.
Surya Bonaly – Now
Surya Bonaly sticks to regulations a little more than she used to. Today, she coaches the next generation of figure skaters to become the campions she knows they can be. She lives in the U.S. and coaches in her Minnesota town today.
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She focuses on educating today’s youth and is an activist for a series of other causes dear to her heart. She is a vegetarian and has appeared in several different ads for PETA.
This skating star is known not only for his killer moves on the rink but also for having the same first name as the King of Rock n’ Roll, Elvis Presley. His skating qualifications were set in stone when he became the first in his sport to master a quadruple-triple combo. If you’re unfamiliar with the move, just picture a human on ice spinning like a tornado, and you’ve got it.
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Stojko was a unique character in the sport, not only for his groundbreaking moves but for his exciting wardrobe. He performed aggressive actions and sported costumes to match. He often astounded spectators as he wore heavy metal costumes during performances on ice.
Elvis Stojko – Now
Elvis Stojko still rocks the icy stage as he performs around 70 times per year. He is married to a former figure skater, with whom he often performs. However, Stojko is far more than just a figure skater these days.
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He gets creative with his hobbies, having taken up kung fu and go-kart racing. He’s even performed on Broadway in the classic musical Chicago! Soon, he will be performing in the Canadian version of Stars on Ice.
Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner
Skating as a pair requires intimacy and communication, and these two nailed it despite their young age. Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner were known for their ability to work together, and they certainly made waves in the field of figure skating. Babilonia was unique in her outing at the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, as she was multiracial, and there had been zero Black Olympians in the Winter Games prior. This dated back to 1926.
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The pair became the first U.S. champions in nearly two decades, but, unfortunately, they did not go much further. Gardner suffered an abysmal groin injury, crushing their 1980 Winter Olympic dreams.
Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner – Now
Although the two could not compete in the 1980 Winter Olympics, Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner have remained close friends to this day. They recently celebrated half a century of working together at the Ice Theater of New York! Today, Babilonia coaches when she can, and Gardner continues to choreograph.
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He has even starred in his own show, Go Figure: The Randy Gardner Story. The two continue to support each other as lifelong companions.
Representing France, Philippe Candeloro goes down in history for making a mistake on the ice appear like it was part of his routine. An accident during a performance led him to spin and fall to his knees; however, he made it look natural, and, now, it is his signature move.
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It didn’t seem to get in his way, though, as he still managed to win the bronze medal in both the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics.
Philippe Candeloro – Now
After his skating career came to an end, Philippe Candeloro tried his hand at news broadcasting. He made his name in the realm of sports journalism. He ultimately found himself in a predicament after making a racially charged comment on the air.
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As he watched a Japanese figure skater Shizuka Arakawa’s performance, Candeloro said that the Olympic champion was “worth a bowl of rice.” The comment was not received well by viewers, and he had to apologize for his appalling remarks. This teaches us that our comments always catch up to us.
A titleholder in his career’s early days, Brian Orser has not seemed to be able to move on from an upset by his biggest rival. Brian Boitano challenged Orser and even pushed the two into a famous rivalry, what many referred to as the “Battle of the Brians.” Brian Orser struck gold at the World Championships in 1987 and was a silver medalist at the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics.
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He missed gold by that much in the Olympic games, losing out to his major competitors, Scott Hamilton and Brian Boitano. He still managed to make his mark as a legendary skater in all his competitions.
Brian Orser – Now
Despite his career hiccups and losses, Orser managed to bounce back in the best way he could. He progressed in figure skating by breaking into the world of coaching. He realized he needed to move on from touring and expand his career.
Brian Orser and Yuzuru Hanyu. Photo by Atsushi Tomura / International Skating Union / Getty Images
He eventually went on to coach Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu to victory in the 2014 Olympics. In 1998, Orser came out as gay and has since been in a relationship with Rajesh Tiwari, who directs the Brian Orser Foundation.
Scott Hamilton soaring on ice often resembles a gymnast performing a routine. Scott Hamilton is known for his love of performing backflips. Not only was this an uncommon skill, but it was also illegal in U.S. figure skating, as well as in the Olympics.
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Despite his passion for complex moves, he remained on the safer side and won four World Championship titles and four consecutive U.S. Championships. His successes between 1981 and 1984 did not stop there, as he went on to win the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. He was a star of men’s figure skating.
Scott Hamilton – Now
Hamilton is credited with creating Stars on Ice back in the ’80s as a form of entertainment. Not long after this, Hamilton was unfortunately diagnosed with testicular cancer. While his battle with the disease was lengthy, he came out strong, winning his fight with cancer in 1997.
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Hamilton was not the tallest man around, and he later found out that his short height was attributed to a childhood condition which later caused several brain tumors. He dealt with these tumors between 2004 and 2016. His health battles inspired him to create the CARES Initiative, centered on cancer research. He became an official ambassador to the Winter Olympics in 2018.
Kitty and Peter Carruthers
Kitty and Peter Carruthers were unmatched in their accomplishments, and they still are to this day. In 1984, this sibling pair made their home state of Massachusetts proud as they defeated their Soviet competitors and won the silver medal. Kitty had tendinitis at the time but overcame her physical pain to nonetheless come home with a medal.
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The siblings were so excited and overwhelmed by their victory that they embraced each other for a long time as they received a standing ovation. The Boston natives retired after their Olympic victory, having won the bronze at the 1982 World Championship already as well as four United States National Champion titles.
Kitty and Peter Carruthers – Now
Peter Carruthers has gone on to become a famous broadcaster for numerous skating events and is now married with two kids. As for Kitty, she is working as a coach in Houston. Despite their individual lives, the siblings often reunite on special occasions, most recently on a TV special in 2013.
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They even skated together during the special. “We were silly enough to skate, and we had a blast,” Kitty said. “We realized we still had a little something,” Peter added. This teaches us that our passions are never truly that far from our hearts.
Viktor Petrenko had the privilege of earning skating titles for more than one country. He started off representing the Soviet Union, prior to the fall which led the union to break into separate entities. After the split, he spent some time representing his home country of Ukraine. His most notable career moments were during his time with the unified team, where he saw the most success.
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In 1992, Victor Petrenko took home the gold and made the Soviet Union incredibly proud of his accomplishments. He was successful in his field, having become one of the youngest male Olympic medalists in figure skating.
Viktor Petrenko – Now
Despite retirement, Viktor Petrenko has remained as involved with the sport as possible. He is just as passionate about the sport as he was on day one. He has gone on to coach multiple Olympic stars, including Oksana Baiul in her path to victory. He helped her make a name for herself.
Michal Brezina and Viktor Petrenko. Photo by John Berry / Getty Images
Thanks to his efforts (and, of course, her personal skills), Baiul would go on to win the gold just two years after Petrenko’s own victory! He also coached other household names like Johnny Weir, another championship winner, and other Ukrainian and Czech skating stars like Natalia Popova and Michal Brezina.
Janet Lynn skated into our hearts at the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan, and we have never been the same since. She impressed her American spectators with her impressive moves on the ice. However, she ended up only winning bronze. Still, a title is a title, and she managed to get somewhere impressive! She had won the same level, a bronze medal, at the World Championships in Calgary, Canada the year prior.
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She managed to be crowned the U.S. national champion five times throughout her career. She received the silver medal at the 1973 World Championships in Bratislava. The Chicago native stole the show time and time again!
Janet Lynn – Now
After her Olympic experiences and successes, Janet Lynn shifted her focus to professional skating beyond the competitive stage. She “made bank,” nailing a deal close to $1.5 million with the Ice Follies. That’s a pretty nice chunk of change! After being named the highest-paid female athlete on the planet, which is an incredibly impressive feat in any sport, she decided to take the win and retire.
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Recently, Lynn has connected with her religious side and touched base with her spiritual soul. She became a Christian motivational speaker, as well as an active partaker in various U.S. conservative political initiatives. She also tried her hand at acting, appearing alongside John Curry in The Snow Queen, a made-for-TV movie in 1982.
Shizuka Arakawa is the first Japanese figure skater to achieve gold in her sport. On top of that, she is only the second person in her sport to take home any type of Olympic medal! She became a national treasure in Japan, bringing honor to her home nation. She followed in the footsteps of Midori Ito, who won the silver medal in 1992.
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Arakawa reigned victorious at the 2004 World Championships in Dortmund, Germany, taking home the gold. Two years later, she defeated her competitors and gaining her highest honor yet at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Shizuka Arakawa – Now
After making an easy transition into professional, non-competitive skating, Shizuka Arakawa moved on to figure skating commentary in Japanese sports television. Additionally, she created, produced, and directed her own show called Friends on Ice. She was part of ABC’s series Thin Ice, in which she skated alongside Stéphane Lambiel, who was another Olympic medalist.
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She received another once-in-a-lifetime honor in 2018, when she carried the Olympic torch to kick off the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. What an honor! Her talent is still admired years later, and she will remain an idol in the skating world forever.
Irina Slutskaya is no joke when it comes to success in the sport of figure skating. This girl knows her stuff and has continued to make her home nation proud, winning championships both inside and outside of Moscow. Slutskaya won the World Championship in 2002, and three years later won another World Championship title in her home city of Moscow.
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She is one of the most accomplished Russian figure skaters ever. She has brought home medals from two sets of Olympic games, six World Championships, nine European Championships, and nine from the Grand Prix Final competition! 14 of these numerous medals were gold. She is also the first female to perform a triple lutz-triple loop combo.
Irina Slutskaya – Now
After her successes in figure skating, Slutskaya had the opportunity to perform for Champions on Ice. However, she decided to return to Russia. Moving back to Russia brought her numerous opportunities, mostly in television. She went on to host various reality shows – Stars on Ice and Ice Age, to name a couple.
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She also continued to star in a Russian figure skating soap opera called Hot Ice. She was an esteemed ambassador to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014. In 1999, she married former boxer Sergei Mikeev, which strengthened her position in sports to this day.
Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Beloved by figure skating fans in recent years, Meryl Davis and Charlie White appear to be unstoppable. The pair achieved Olympic gold status and World Championship titles on two separate occasions. No other American pair had won both titles before them. Beyond this, the pair has been the longest-running figure skating pair in the U.S.
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The two were of recent fame, having won Olympic medals in 2010 and 2014. In addition to these key victories, they also earned titles twice at the World Championship, five times at the Grand Prix Final, three times at the Four Continents competition, and a whopping six times as U.S. National Champions.
Meryl Davis & Charlie White – Now
The two decided not to return to the competitive stage and made their announcement in 2017. Meryl Davis and Charlie White still perform together professionally, despite choosing to compete no longer. They were (and still are) attached at the hip, but they are not romantically involved. Both of them have been lucky to have healthy relationships with others.
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Meryl Davis got engaged to another retired figure skater, Fedor Andreev, in 2017 after dating for six years. Charlie White has been married to Canadian American ice dancer Tanith Belbin White since 2015. The two welcomed their first child, Charlie, in 2017. Who knows? Maybe baby Charlie will follow in his parent’s footsteps and make his legacy!
Midori Ito is the original superstar of Japanese figure skating. Years before Shizuka Arakawa made Japan proud with her incredible abilities on the rink, Midori broke and made records independently. Hailing from Nagoya, she became the first woman to successfully land seven successful triple jumps in a single competition.
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Landing a triple axel was unheard of before her accomplishment. You go, girl! She won the 1989 World Championships and went on to win the silver medal at the Winter Olympics in 1992 in Albertville, France.
Midori Ito – Now
Ever since her competitive career came to an end in the mid-’90s, Midori Ito has kept herself. She received a major honor in 1998 for lighting the Olympic torch at the winter games in Nagano. She did end up making a resurgence in the competitive field later in 2011. Ito managed to reach second place in the International Skating Union figure skating competition for adults, not once but twice.
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She was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2003. Today, she seems to be laying low and skating when she can. She still lives in Japan and can be seen in movies like Shikake-nin Baian.
Kristi Yamaguchi is a name recognized across the world, both in and out of the world of sports. She skated her way to the top, winning the gold medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France and reigned supreme as the World Champion in 1991 and 1992. She achieved the National Champion title with her skating partner, Rudy Galindo, in 1989 and 1990.
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She is one of the few figure skaters who excelled both in singles and pairs, earning titles in both areas. Yamaguchi retired from skating and was inducted into both the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame as well as the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Kristi Yamaguchi – Now
Kristi Yamaguchi has continued to be a strong force of nature both in the skating world and activism world. She spent the ’90s focusing on professional tours, such as Stars on Ice, and later even gave Dancing with the Stars a shot, in the show’s sixth season.
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In 1996, she established the Always Dream Foundation. The philanthropy focused on improving children’s literacy rates from a young age, which may have been the inspiration of her children’s book, Dream Big, Little Pig! Today, she is active in the #GetCaughtReading campaign. She has also been incredibly vocal in efforts to stop attacks on Asian communities across the globe.
Dorothy Hamill rocked the world in 1976 and seemed nearly unstoppable in the world of figure skating. That year, she competed in the ladies singles events at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, and was triumphant. That same year, she also won the World Championships.
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Her accomplishments were not overshadowed, though her victories were rather impressive, having won the gold despite not hitting a triple jump. She coined a fad hairstyle and, more important, won recognition for an original move – the “Hamill camel,” which was a camel spin into a sit spin.
Dorothy Hamill – Now
Much like her other skating counterparts, Hamill turned to professional skating performances. She did not want to burn out after her Olympic and World Championship wins, and who could blame her? Hamill was a crucial player in Broadway on Ice and was a contestant in the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars.
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Unfortunately, she sustained brutal injuries and had to pull out of the show after a mere two episodes. She never stayed down for long, though; she bounced back and made appearances in shows like Go Figure: The Randy Gardner Story.
Sarah Hughes is among the youngest athletes on this list. Age is just a number, and she managed to prove this through and through, particularly when her performance earned her the bronze medal at the 2001 World Championships in Vancouver.
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This victory was followed by a gold win in the ladies singles at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002. She made the Jewish community proud through her athletic endeavors, coming in first place against Irina Slutskaya and Michelle Kwan, her primary competitors in that year’s Winter Olympic games.
Sarah Hughes – Now
Not long after her Olympic win, Hughes started studying at Yale University, receiving a B.A. degree in American studies. The Great Neck, New York native, did return to skating during her studies as she went on tour with Smuckers Stars on Ice. Of Jewish faith, Hughes was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
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She received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and works as an associate at a law firm in New York City. She currently serves as a Trustee for the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Only a few years after he started chasing his figure skating dreams, Johnny Weir won the 2001 World Junior Championship. He continued to crush his competitors as he won the U.S. Figure Skating Championship three times in a row, from 2004 through 2006. He gained success winning a bronze medal for the U.S. National Team at the World Championships in 2008, which was the only medal the team earned in that competition.
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He competed in the Olympics twice. His skating style was influenced mainly by the Russian approach to the sport and was heavily influenced by the nation’s history, culture, and language.
Johnny Weir – Now
Johnny Weir has been successful in his career since retiring from figure skating in 2013. He has since teamed up with his best friend, fellow figure skating champion Tara Lipinski. Together, they have worked as analysts and commentators on a number of figure skating shows. The two have been successful enough to even work on the red carpet at the Academy Awards! Talk about a picture-perfect pair.
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He came out as gay in 2011 and has been heavily involved in LGBTQ+ activism. He was married but ended up divorcing his husband in 2015. He has also openly criticized the movie I, Tonya depicting his former colleague, Tonya Harding.
Debi Thomas is a trailblazer, best remembered as the first Black American to win a medal at the Winter Olympic Games. She won the bronze medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary. She had already swept the top three in three different series of World Championship competitions.
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She hit her mark as the number one figure skater in the world in 1986. Throughout her career, her fierce rivalry with Katarina Witt was referred to as the “Battle of the Carmens.” Thomas and Witt both independently decided to skate to the music of Bizet’s opera, Carmen.
Debi Thomas – Now
Though there were many triumphs for Debi Thomas in her life after skating, there was also an apparent fall from grace. While still competing, Thomas enrolled at Stanford University and retired from skating at 21 years old. She received her degree from Stanford and progressed to medical school, where she trained to become an orthopedic surgeon.
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Unfortunately, this is where her fall from grace began. She soon developed a reputation for being a problematic doctor to work with and moved on to open her own private practice. Not too long after, she filed for bankruptcy and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, though the two are not necessarily connected. Her medical license expired soon after her diagnosis.
Brian Boitano broke into figure skating fame in the 1980s. He gained elite status quickly as he became the World Champion in 1986 and then again in 1988. He went on to earn the gold medal in men’s singles at the Calgary Winter Olympic Games. He had a famous rivalry with Brian Orser, which was known to many as the “Battle of the Brians.”
Photo by David Madison / Getty Images
Even after transitioning from competitive skating to professional performance skating, he did return to the Olympic games. He competed in the 1994 Winter Olympics, coming in sixth place overall.
Brian Boitano – Now
Brian Boitano has been active since departing the world of competitive figure skating. He played a vital role in Carmen on Ice, an Emmy award-winning movie. He starred alongside his career rival, Brian Orser. He also played roles in the films Ice Princess, alongside Michelle Trachtenberg and Joan Cusack, and Blades of Glory, starring Will Ferrell and John Heder.
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He was inducted into the Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1996. After numerous stories came about his personal life, Boitano came out publicly as gay. His accomplishments will never be forgotten.
Nancy Kerrigan was known not only for her skating abilities but also for the events that transpired due to her success and competitive spirit. After winning the 1991 World Championship, she stepped into the spotlight and didn’t stop until she won the silver medal in the 1994 Olympics.
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In January 1994, Kerrigan was attacked after practice in Detroit, Michigan in what would go down as a major scandal in sports history. She was struck with a 21-inch baton by Shane Stant and Derrick Smith, allegedly contracted by Tonya Harding’s ex-husband and her bodyguard.
Nancy Kerrigan – Now
Nancy Kerrigan has seemingly lived a drama-free life since the attack. She got married in 1995 and now has three children, two sons and a daughter. After her retirement in 1994, she appeared in movies, acted as a sports correspondent, and even produced shows. She appeared in Blades of Glory, a figure skating comedy with an incredible cast of comedic legends.
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She competed in the 24th season of Dancing with the Stars and was an executive producer for the documentary Why Not Lose 5 Pounds? She also appeared on the sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, alongside Constance Wu. She was also a Super Bowl correspondent in 2018 for Inside Edition.
Tonya Harding is a name known across the sports world. She is notorious for orchestrating an attack on a rival in her field, Nancy Kerrigan. She broke into figure skating in 1991 and became the first female skater from the States to perform a groundbreaking move, the triple axel jump.
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The only person before her to complete this move was Midori Ito. The attack arranged by Harding and her posse impacted her career the most. After this, Tonya Harding was banned from competing by the U.S. Figure Skating Association.
Tonya Harding – Now
Tonya Harding made the most of her time after her career’s unfortunate end. After her ban was instated, she turned to professional boxing (which honestly seems kind of fitting based on her inspired attack on Nancy Kerrigan). Her boxing career was short-lived, as she hadn’t competed a ton and only won about 50% of her matches.
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She is now married with a young son, to whom she gave birth to in 2011. She recently has been working as a painter and builder, specifically on decks. Her story was given new light in the critically acclaimed biopic I, Tonya. The athlete was portrayed in an incredible performance by Australian actress Margot Robbie.
Rudy Galindo’s career was at an all-time high when he competed with the legendary Kristi Yamaguchi. Together, they demolished their competitors. The dynamic duo won the World Junior Championships in 1988 and the U.S. National Championships in 1989 and 1990. Not long after, the two decided to focus on their solo careers.
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Galindo topped the charts in the world of men’s singles, accomplishing gold medal status at the 1996 U.S. Championships when he triple jumped a whopping eight times. His proven ability has made waves across both singles and pairs figure skating.
Rudy Galindo – Now
Unlike the other figure skaters on this list, Galindo did not compete at the Olympics. He shattered the glass ceiling and made history as being the first openly gay and Latino American figure skating champion. Rudy Galindo continued to build his reputation for excellent skills in the field when he continued to perform in professional shows.
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Today, he works as a coach at the rink he started and trained at throughout his youth. The San Jose, California native returned to his roots and used his skills to help the next generation of figure skaters. In 2000, he shared his status as HIV positive with the world, shocking his peers in the sports industry.
David Pelletier and Jamie Salé
Extraordinary doesn’t even begin to cover the story of Canadian figure skating duo David Pelletier and Jamie Salé. The pair skated through their competitions, winning the gold in the 2001 World Championships, followed by the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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The two were at the center of a scandal regarding how they were judged in the competition. According to fans of the sport, the pair fortunately walked away with the gold, which is hard to contest. Salé had already competed in the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics with former partner Jason Turner.
David Pelletier and Jamie Salé – Now
This dynamic duo transitioned from competition to professional performance, and that’s not all. The two fell in love and became engaged on Christmas Day in 2004. They were married a year later. A couple of years later, the couple welcomed a son, Jesse Joe Pelletier.
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Unfortunately, their marriage ended in 2010. They were inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009 and into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame the year prior. They also worked as Olympic commentators and toured with Stars on Ice, like many of the names on this list.