Women in Sports: Skating

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Figure skating

  • Theresa Weld Blanchard has achieved many figure skating firsts. She was the first U.S. national champion in 1914, won the first Olympic skating medal (bronze) for the U.S. in 1920, and won the U.S. pairs competition nine times with partner Nathaniel Niles.
  • Tenley Albright was the first American woman figure skater to win both a skating world championship and an Olympic gold medal. She won the world championship in 1953 and the gold medal at the 1956 games.
  • In 1964, at age 15, Peggy Fleming became the youngest person ever to win the U.S. women's figure skating championship. She won the only gold medal for the U.S. four years later at the 1968 Olympics at Grenoble, France.
  • In 1997, at age 14, Tara Lipinski became the youngest woman to win the World figure skating championship. Just a year later at age 15, she became the youngest Olympic figure skating champion in history when she edged fellow American Michelle Kwan for the gold.
  • Shizuka Arakawa of Japan moved ahead of America’s Sasha Cohen and Russia’s Irina Slutskaya to win the gold medal for figure skating in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. This is the second Olympic medal for figure skating won by Japan.
  • Michelle Kwan won her first world championship in 1996 at the age of 15 and went on to capture the title in 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2003 as well. Her victory in the 2005 U.S. Figure Skating Championships was her eighth consecutive and ninth overall.
Michelle Kwan
Michelle Kwan
AP Photos

Roller skating

  • In 1976 Natalie Dunn became the first U.S. woman to win the world title in figure roller skating.

Speed skating

  • Bonnie Blair became the all-time gold medal winner among U.S. female Olympic athletes after she won two gold medals at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. She has won a total of five gold medals in her career.
  • In 2010, Martina Sablikova won the first Olympic speed skating medal for the Czech Republic. She took home gold in the women's 3,000 meters. The silver medal went to Stephanie Beckert of Germany and Canada's Kristina Groves took the bronze.

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