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U.S. Women’s Olympic Figure Skating Champions 1984-2006 (with Videos)

Updated on June 25, 2018
rmcrayne profile image

Rose Mary is an Air Force veteran and an Occupational Therapist. She enjoys researching and writing on a variety of topics.

In my hub, U.S. Women’s Olympic Figure Skating Champions 1908-1980, I introduced the first 10 U.S. Women to win Olympic medals in Women’s Figure Skating. In this hub, I pick up at the next Winter Olympic games, in 1984.

  • U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Olympic Champions included in this hub:
  • Rosalynn Sumners
  • Debi Thomas
  • Kristi Yamaguchi
  • Nancy Kerrigan
  • Tara Lipinski
  • Michelle Kwan
  • Sarah Hughes
  • Sasha Cohen

Olympic Rings

Olympic Rings
Olympic Rings | Source

Rosalynn Sumners, 1984 Silver

Rosalynn Diane Sumners was born in 1964. She was a 3-time U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Champion, and 1-time World Champion. She won the silver at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

She toured with Disney on Ice, then Stars on Ice until 1999.

Sumners loaned three of her medals to the Edmonds bank for display. When she went to retrieve the medals, the bank had changed owners, and no one seemed to have knowledge of the medals. They were found 20 years later and returned to Sumners.

Debi Thomas, 1988 Bronze

Debra Janine “Debi” Thomas was born in 1967. She won 2 U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Championships, and one World. She won the bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Thomas graduated from Stanford University in 1991 with an engineering degree. She graduated from Northwestern in 1997 with a medical degree. She is now an orthopedic surgeon.

She is married with one son.

Kristi Yamaguchi, 1992 Gold

Kristine Tsuya “Kristi” Yamaguchi-Hedican was born in 1971. She is a U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Champion and 2 time World Champion. She won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France.

Kristi and Rudy Galindo won a Junior World Pairs title, and two U.S. Pairs Championships.

She established the Always Dream Foundation in 1996 for children. Yamaguchi is the author of several books, including Figure Skating for Dummies.

Kristi toured for many years with Stars on Ice. She married professional hockey player, Bret Hedican, with whom she has 2 daughters. In 2008 she won the 6th season of Dancing with the Stars with her partner, Mark Ballas.

Nancy Kerrigan, 1992 Bronze, 1994 Silver

Nancy Kerrigan
Nancy Kerrigan | Source

Nancy Ann Kerrigan was born in 1969. She is a U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Champion. She won the bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France, and the silver medal at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

Nancy Kerrigan was attacked January 6, 1994, injuring her knee. The attack was linked to Jeff Gillooly, rival U.S. skater Tonya Harding’s ex-husband.

Kerrigan competed in the Olympics 7 weeks later, delivering outstanding performances. Many question her loss of the gold to Oksana Baiul, inferring some of the Eastern Block judges were biased.

Nancy’s Olympic costumes were designed and donated by Vera Wang, with a combined worth of over $22K.

Post-Olympics, Kerrigan performed in a few professional competitions, but preferred ice shows such as Champions on Ice. She appeared in small parts in a few movies.

She married her agent, Jerry Solomon in 1995. They have 3 children.

The Nancy Kerrigan Foundation is devoted to those with visual impairments, like her mother who is legally blind.

Kerrigan’s father died January 24, 2010 after an argument and struggle with Kerrigan’s brother, who was charged with assault.

Nancy Kerrigan 1992 Olympics

Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Olympics

Tara Lipinski, 1998 Gold

Tara Kristen Lipinski was born in 1982. She is a U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Champion and World Champion. She won the gold medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan at 15. She is the youngest competitor of an individual sport to win the gold in the Winter Olympic Games.

Lipinski was the first female to land a triple loop/triple loop combination jump, which became her signature. Lipinski edged out Michelle Kwan in the Olympics. Most agree that Lipinski’s program was more technically challenging, and she skated with such joy.

Post-Olympics Lipinski skated 4 seasons with Stars on Ice. Though never making an official announcement of retiring from skating, Lipinski has not skated professionally since 2002. She has made numerous TV and movie appearances.

Tara Lipinski Nagano 1998 Free Skate

Michelle Kwan, 1998 Silver, 2002 Bronze

Michelle Kwan
Michelle Kwan | Source

Michelle Wingshan Kwan was born in 1980. She is a 9 time U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Champion, and 5 time World Champion. The most decorated U.S. figure skater in history, she competed at the highest levels for over 10 years.

She won the silver medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and the bronze medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Kwan qualified and was in Turin for the 2006 Olympics, but had to withdraw due to a groin injury. She attended the University of Denver, earning a degree in International Studies in 2009.

She considered competing in the 2010 Olympics, but ultimately decided to pursue her graduate degree at Tufts.

Sarah Hughes, 2002 Gold

Sarah Elizabeth Hughes was born in 1985. She won the gold medal in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Hughes was 4th after her short program in Salt Lake. She executed a flawless long program, including 5 triple jumps and 2 triple/triple jumps. The top three skaters all had errors. Hughes went from 4th to 1st in a stunning upset.

Hughes entered Yale in 2003. She took a year off to tour with Smuckers Stars on Ice, graduating in 2009 with a degree in American Studies. She has supported Figure Skating in Harlem for 10 years, providing skating lessons and tutoring for young girls.

Sarah Hughes’ sister Emily is also a competitive figure skater.

Sasha Cohen, 2006 Silver

Sasha Cohen
Sasha Cohen | Source

Alexandra Pauline “Sasha” Cohen was born in 1984. She was a U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Champion and won the silver medal in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy.

In Turin, Cohen was 1st after the short program, but fell on her first jump, and put her hands down on her second. Similar issues have plagued her in competitions. She is known for her creative and difficult spins, like her I spin.

In 2006 Cohen toured with several shows such as Champions on Ice. Sasha Cohen has made multiple TV and film appearances.

© 2010 rmcrayne


Submit a Comment
  • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    Thanks for the visit JenD. I remember watching these skaters too, except Sumners. I like that they staggered the Winter and Summer Olympics though. Seems to make the wait between a little easier.

  • JenDobson27 profile image


    10 years ago

    Thanks for sharing! This was a really cool hub to read and watch the videos. Blast from the past :) I remember watching those skaters. I wish the Olympics happened more often. I really enjoy watching them!

  • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    Thanks for the visit Ladybird. I remember watching all of these women perform on TV except Rosalynn Sumners. Looking at the timing, it must have been the winter before I went to the Medical Univ for OT school. Must have been busy studying.

  • Ladybird33 profile image


    10 years ago from Fabulous USA

    I watched all of these and loved some and didn't others but it's a wonderful tribute to them and great education for us all. Good one!! Thank you

  • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    Thanks for reading lorlie. Drama right?! If you wrote it as a screenplay, people would say it was too contrived!

  • lorlie6 profile image

    Laurel Rogers 

    10 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

    Ah, such drama-the Kerrigan/Harding situation was so incredibly bizarre! But that's what skating's all about-behind the scenes, of course.

  • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    Paradise I don’t think there is anyone who followed the story that believed that Tonya Harding only knew about the attack on Nancy after the fact. All figure skaters are graceful, but Nancy had a special elegance.

  • Paradise7 profile image


    10 years ago from Upstate New York

    Thanks for another beautiful figure skating hub. I was interested in the Nancy Kerrigan story and followed her figure skating events. She's got so much style. That Tonya Harding thing was a shame, and so was the way in which she lost her dad.

    Thanks for another great hub.

  • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    @ladyjane- Rudy was a crowd pleaser, and just one of many great skaters who never medaled in the Olympics.

    @Rose West- As I was putting this together, I definitely thought it was a shame that Michelle never brought home a gold.

  • Rose West profile image

    Rose West 

    10 years ago from Michigan

    Great hub - I always enjoy watching figure skating. I remember when Tara Lipinski got that gold - I was rooting for Michelle Kwan :( Michelle's still my favorite.

  • ladyjane1 profile image


    10 years ago from Texas

    My favorite part of the winter olympics. I love Rudy Galindo he's great. Nice hub.

  • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    Thanks for reading Flightkeeper! Nice to see that Olympic medalists are real people, and continue to have a positive impact, eh.

  • Flightkeeper profile image


    10 years ago from The East Coast

    I so enjoyed reading this hub and being updated on what our champions lives have become after winning their medals. Thanks rm.


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