Oksana Baiul

Figure Skating Olympian

Nancy Kerrigan - Oksana Baiul - Lu Chen - 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics medal ceremonyKerrigan-Bauil-Lu-Chen-245889.png
Nancy Kerrigan, Oksana Baiul, and Lu Chen at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics medal ceremony for womens figure skating. Getty Images / Mike Powell

Basic Facts:

Known for: Olympic Gold Medal, women's figure skating, 1994 Olympics, Lillehammer, Norway
Occupation: figure skater
Dates: November 16, 1977 -


  • Born in Dnepropetrovsk in the Ukraine, formerly part of the Soviet Union
  • Father: Sergei, deserted family when Oksana was two
  • Mother: Marina, French teacher, died in 1991 of ovarian cancer, when Oksana was 13
  • Grandparents helped raise her until their deaths in 1987 and 1988


    • Stanislav Korytek defected to US weeks after Oksana's mother's funeral
    • Galina Zmievskaya became her coach; Oksana lived with her family in Odessa
    • After Oksana's car accident, she enlisted Sara Kawahara as her choreographer

    About Oksana Baiul:

    Raised in the Ukraine, the country for which she skated at the Olympics, Oksana Baiul lost her father at two when he left, her grandparents (with whom she and her mother lived) before she was ten, and her mother when she was 13.

    On March 4, 1994, in the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, Oksana Baiul narrowly beat Nancy Kerrigan for the gold in women's figure skating. This was in the wake of the skating scandal when the husband and associates of skater Tonya Harding deliberately injured Kerrigan. Oksana Baiul won despite injuries -- requiring three stitches -- from a collision with another skater the day of her long program.

    After the 1994 Olympics, Oksana Baiul moved to the United States where celebrity status, some injuries and a drinking problem led to out-of-control behavior including a car crash on January 12, 1997.

    She went through a rehab program in 1998 and returned to skating professionally.

    Skating Awards:

    • Second place, women's figure skating European Championships, 1993
    • First place, women's World Figure Skating Championships, 1993
    • Gold Medal for women's figure skating, Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, 1994

      More Oksana Baiul Resources:

      • Baiul, Oksana. Secrets of Skating. 1997.
      • Nutcracker on Ice 1994. With Oksana Baiul.
      • A Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story. 1995. Movie, starring Monica Keena.

      Selected Oksana Baiul Quotations

      • My whole life is a challenge!

      • It is because I have lived a most difficult life that I could do this.

      • One shouldn't be afraid to lose; this is sport. One day you win; another day you lose. Of course, everyone wants to be the best. This is normal. This is what sport is about. This is why I love it.

      • I like when people are watching. What's the reason for figure skating without spectators watching?

      • Olympic Gold changed me and my life dramatically. I became a celebrity overnight and people see me as a famous skater, not a real person.

      • Competitive skaters must be prepared for lots of work, challenges, self-discipline, and motivation. The desire must be there, but more importantly, you're love for the sport.

      • I skate how I feel. I think it must be a gift from God.

      • I keep my skates. My Olympic skates are still in my closet!

      • I skate now for fun and to keep myself in shape.

      • I don't care what the critics say or think because I care for and love my fans.

      • I took some time off to enjoy my life, but figure skating is something I love and something I will continue doing for the rest of my life.

      • I'd like to consider myself a versatile skater and I like to skate to different kinds of music.

      • When I'm on the ice, I like being Oksana, and not imitate other skater's music.