Olympic Women Skaters

Nancy Kerrigan - Oksana Baiul - Lu Chen - 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics medal ceremony
Nancy Kerrigan, Oksana Baiul, and Lu Chen at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics medal ceremony for womens figure skating. Getty Images / Mike Powell
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Barbara Ann Scott

Barbara Ann Scott at St. Moritz, 1948
Barbara Ann Scott at St. Moritz, 1948. Chris Ware / Getty Images


May 9, 1928 - September 30, 2012

Known for:

Canadian winner of the 1948 Winter Olympics gold medal for figure skating.

Barbara Ann Scott was known as "Canada's sweetheart" and was the first Canadian to win the figure skating gold medal. In 1947, she was the first citizen of a non-European nation to win a world championship in skating.

Amateur Skating Career:

1940: national junior title

1942: became first woman to land a double lutz in a competition

1944-1946, 1948: won Canadian women's champion

1945: won North American skating championship

1947, 1948: won European and world championships

1948: won Olympic gold medal, women's figure skating, at St. Moritz, Switzerland

After the Olympics:

Barbara Ann Scott turned professional in June, 1948. She replaced Sonja Henie in the starring role in Hollywood Ice Revues.

When Scott retired from skating, she turned to equestrian competition.

In 1955, Barbara Ann Scott was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

She was inducted into the American Hall of Fame in 1980 (as North American skating champion) and into the International Hall of Fame in 1997.

More About Barbara Ann Scott:

Barbara Ann Scott was born in Ottawa on May 9, 1928. Some sources give 1929 as her birth year.

She married Thomas King in 1955 and they moved to Chicago.

Little-Known Facts About Barbara Ann Scott:

Reliable Toy Company created a Barbara Ann Scott doll after Scott's Olympic win.

Scott excelled especially in the figures part of the competition.

When Barbara Ann Scott won her Olympic crown, it was on a flawed outdoor rink. The men's hockey game was played on the ice the night before (Canada won) and, following an attempt to repair the ice's dents and unevenness by flooding it at above-freezing temperatures, the rink was slushy when Scott competed.

Eva Pawlik of Austria and Jeanette Altwegg of Great Britain took silver and bronze medals to Scott's 1948 gold.

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Claudia Pechstein

Claudia Pechstein of Germany competes during the Women's 3000m Speed Skating event during day 2 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
Claudia Pechstein of Germany competes during the Women's 3000m Speed Skating event during day 2 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

Olympic speed skating medalist 

Dates: February 22, 1972 -

A German speed skater, Claudia Pechstein won the gold in the 5000 meter in 1998.

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Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan - January 2005
Michelle Kwan in the women's short program, U.S. Figure Skating Championships, January, 2005. Getty Images / Jonathan Ferrey

Known for: Olympic performances that fell short of the expected gold medals

Sport: figure skating
Country Represented: USA
Dates: July 7, 1980 -
Also known as: Michelle Wing Kwan

Olympics: Though Michelle Kwan was favored to win in 1998 and 2002, Olympic gold eluded her.

  • 1994: she won second place at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, right after Nancy Kerrigan was injured when she was attacked, and could have been expected to be on the Olympics team, but the U.S. Figure Skating Association decided to give Nancy Kerrigan the Olympic spot instead, making Kwan an alternate
  • 1998: silver medal (Tara Lipinski, gold)
  • 2002: bronze medal (Sarah Hughes, gold; Irina Slutskaya, silver)
  • 2006: withdrew from games after sustaining an injury

Gold Medals:

  • World Junior Figure-Skating Championships, 1994
  • U.S. National Figure-Skating Championships, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
  • World Figure-Skating Championships, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003


  • University of California - Los Angeles

Background, Family:

  • Father: Danny Kwan
  • Mother: Estella Kwan
  • Sister: Karen Kwan, also a top competitive figure skater

More About Michelle Kwan:

Michelle Kwan's parents, both emigrants from Hong Kong, sacrificed so that their two California-born daughters could compete as figure skaters. Michelle Kwan began figure skating lessons when she was five, and by age eight was studying with coach Derek James. At age 12 she began training with coach Frank Carroll.

Michelle Kwan placed ninth in the National Junior Championships in 1992, and by 1994 had earned a place as an alternate to the Olympics at Lillehammer. She competed at the 1998 and 2002 Olympics, each time as a favorite for the gold medal, gaining instead a silver and a bronze. An injury took her out of the 2006 games.


  • Stewart, Mark and Mike Kennedy. Michelle Kwan: Quest for Gold. 2001.

Children's and Young Adult Books:

  • Kwan, Michelle: Michelle Kwan: Champion on Ice (Sports Achievers Biographies). 1998. Ages 9-12.
  • Kwan, Michelle. Michelle Kwan: Heart of a Champion. 1997.
  • Kwan, Michelle.Michelle Kwan: My Book of Memories. 1998. Ages 9-12.
  • Kwan, Michelle. My Special Moments. 2001. Ages 9-12.
  • Kwan, Michelle and Laura James. The Winning Attitude: Michelle Kwan What It Takes to Be a Champion. 1999. Ages 9-12.
  • Lovitt, Chip. Skating for the Gold: Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski. 1997. Young Adult.
  • Paprocki, Sherry Beck. Michelle Kwan (Women Who Win). 2000. Ages 9-12.
  • Thacker, Nola and Michelle Kwan. The Turning Point (Michelle Kwan Skating Dreams, 1). 2000. Ages 9-12.
  • Thacker, Nola and Michelle Kwan. Staying Balanced (Michelle Kwan Skating Dreams, 2). Ages 9-12.
  • Thacker, Nola and Michelle Kwan. Skating Backwards. (Michelle Kwan Skating Dreams, 3). Ages 9-12.
  • Thacker, Nola and Michelle Kwan. Champion's Luck (Michelle Kwan Skating Dreams, 4). Ages 9-12.
  • Thacker, Nola and Michelle Kwan. The Winning Edge (Michelle Kwan Skating Dreams, 5). 2001. Ages 9-12.
  • Thacker, Nola and Michelle Kwan. Coach's Choice (Michelle Kwan Skating Dreams, 6). Ages 9-12.
  • Torres, John. Michelle Kwan: A Real-Life Reader Biography. 1999. Ages 9-12.
  • Wellman, Sam. Michelle Kwan (Female Skating Legends). 1998. Ages 9-12.
  • Grace on the Ice: Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Michelle Kwan (Road to Reading: Reading on Your Own, Mile 3). 2001. Ages 4-8