The Best Female Figure Skaters in the World Right Now

The first modern ice skates with metal blades date back to the Middle Ages and were made by the Dutch, though there’s evidence that humans were using animal bones to skate across ice several millennia before that. In a demonstration of women’s place on the ice, the Catholic Church’s patron saint of figure skating, Saint Lidwina, was a Dutch teenager from the late 1300s who fell and broke her leg while skating on one of the many canals. Henie, the Norwegian national champion, was only 11 when she skated in the first Winter Olympics in 1924 in Chamonix, France. She finished eighth of eight skaters, often pausing during her free-skating program to ask her coach for instructions. Tonya’s story only grew more popular with time, especially after the release of 2018’s Oscar-nominated film I, Tonya.

With its costumes, its routines and its tradition of musical accompaniment, from the perspective of 2018 it probably doesn’t seem surprising that figure skating is the oldest women’s Winter Olympics sport. Together with six traditional summer sports including tennis, sailing, archery and croquet, it was one of the first sports with a category for women competitors–and the only women’s winter Olympic sport until 1936. What might be more surprising to many is that figure skating was originally considered a totally masculine pastime, says skating historian James R. Hines. In an epic showdown in Calgary, Canada, 22-year-old Katarina Witt of East Germany—the 1984 figure skating gold medalist—faced 20-year-old American Debi Thomas. The favorites opted to perform to Bizet’s “Carmen,” making “The Battle of the Carmens” a must-see TV event. There has been two podium sweeps in Olympic figure skating history.

What was Tara Lipinski’s major achievement?

Since Wirtz controlled the best arenas and dates, Henie was left playing smaller venues and markets already saturated by other touring ice shows such as Ice Capades. The collapse of a section of bleachers during a show in Baltimore, Maryland in 1952 compounded the tour’s legal and financial woes. She was among 250 female stars who were nominated for “50 Greatest Screen Legend” status by the American Film Institute.[7] She did not make the final list however. In her film Everything Happens at Night (1939), Ray Milland and Robert Cummings star as rival reporters hot on the trail of Hugo Norden (Maurice Moscovich). Norden, a Nobel Prize winner, was supposedly murdered by the Gestapo, but is rumoured to be in hiding and writing anonymous dispatches advocating world peace.

  • Arguably the greatest pairs skater in the history of the sport, Rodnina was a force for the Soviet Union from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.
  • She was known for bringing ballet, white skates, and short skating dresses to the ice.
  • After winning two world championships and one U.S. championship, she won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics.
  • One feat she achieved that seems impossible to match is that she remains the only figure skater to land from a backflip while on one blade successfully.
  • Best known for her phenomenal performances with partner Ruslan Zhiganshin, retired Russian ice dancer Elena Ilinykh is a former national champion.
  • “The loss experienced by the family is beyond words, and they have my most heartfelt sympathies in this difficult time,” she said in a statement.

Adam brought home the bronze in 2018, but he wasn’t done winning just yet. That same year, he won Dancing with the Stars’ first all-athletes season. He’s since moved on to helping up-and-coming skaters, becoming part of 2022 Olympics-bound figure skater Mariah Bell’s coaching team. In January 2022, he revealed to his 820,000 Instagram followers that he secretly wed longtime love Jussi-Pekka “JP” Kajaala on New Year’s Eve. Tonya Harding made a name for herself after winning her first national skating title in 1991 and becoming the first American woman to land a triple axel. She had two Olympic runs, placing fourth in 1992 and eighth in 1994.

1928, ’32, ’36 Games: Sonja Henie, 3-Time Gold Medalist

Many describe her as an icon and a role model to upcoming and young figure skaters. She is also one the most graceful figure skaters to take the stage. She won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1968 and the North American Championship in 1967. The American boasts two World Championships and a US Championship, pitting her as one of the most successful US figure skaters.

Post-skating career

Before, there never used to be skirted, and this revolutionised the sport, making it more pleasing. She is also among the most beautiful athletes ever to grace the Olympics. Lipinski and Chen both retired from competitive skating shortly after the Olympics, while Kwan went on to win the 1998 World Championships in Minneapolis.

Search resumes for Alaska woman swept under river ice

Yet the celebrated figure skaters on this list are not only able to skate, spin, and spring into the air but also to do so with grace, passion, and style. Their routines can be beautiful or humorous, heartbreaking or inspiring. This list includes the best female figure skaters in American figure skating history.

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Valieva took first place in the short program but skated nervously from the beginning in the free skate, performing under intense scrutiny and pressure. She barely hung on for her opening quad salchow, then stumbled out of a triple axel and put her hand to the ice. She also stepped out of a quad toe in a combination jump, putting both hands to the ice after a triple salchow. In the Olympics final, Albright turned the injured ankle while performing a double loop.

Men’s singles

The only skaters with three consecutive titles are Gillis Grafström in men’s singles, Sonja Henie in ladies’ singles, and Irina Rodnina in pairs. The most consecutive titles in ice dance is two, which has only been achieved by Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov. In addition, one ladies’ singles skater, three men’s singles skaters, and five pairs skaters have earned consecutive titles. Two ice dancers and three pair skaters have earned non-consecutive titles. Counting multiple events, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir hold the record for the most medals, with a total of five medals including two golds in ice dance and one team event gold.

Kristi met her husband, former professional hockey player Bret Hedican, at the 1992 Olympics. They’ve been married since 2000, and share two daughters together. The gold medalist won season 6 of Dancing with the Stars, and even hosted WE tv’s Skating’s Next Star.

At the Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, Kerrigan won silver, finishing behind Ukraine’s Oksana Baiul. Harding, granted an unusual request to restart her routine because of a broken skate lace, finished eighth. After her Olympic career, Michelle returned to college and earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. State Department adviser, and was also on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign staff. In 2021, President Biden nominated her to be the U.S. ambassador to Belize. Austin McDaniel, a spokesperson for the Alaska state troopers, told the Anchorage Daily News that officials believe the woman “was swept underneath the ice downriver”.

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