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Women in Skating: 5 Stars of the Present

Ice skating has grown leaps and bounds from the days of Janet Champion and Dorothy Hamill – and nowadays, it’s the women who are shattering old records and taking the sport to a whole different level. Gone are the days of a single mazurka or a double axel being the be all and end all of the sport…say hello to triple axels and extremely intricate jumps.

Women are a leading force in this sport, so we took the time to pay tribute to 5 of its foremost stars in the recent era – so we can pay homage to their role in changing the face of the sport almost entirely. And they deserve all the recognition and respect that they do.

1. Kim Yuna

Who could forget Queen Yuna herself in the flesh? Quite frankly, Bucheon, Korea-born Kim Yuna’s absolutely breathtaking performance in the 2010 Olympics stands as arguably the pinnacle of aesthetic ice skating beauty of all time – and at quite surely in recent memory, because they are etched forever in the record books as some of the highest scores ever recorded in the sport. Her elegance and grace in these performances and her ruthlessness in her athletic ability literally destroyed all of her competitors in sight en route to the championship. She is most definitely something to look out for – remember, she has barely scratched her potential. Remarkable, isn’t it? All hail the queen.

2. Katarina Witt

Staaken, East Germany-born Katarina Witt heralded the age of modern ice skating in so many ways – not only did she have a reputation as a ruthless, callous competitor who struck fear in the eyes of her competitors and terrorized her opponents with her gamesmanship and piercing looks, and still remains the only woman to have won two consecutive Olympic gold medals. She parlayed her success on the rink into mainstream popularity as a sex symbol by breaking the mold of what constituted outfits during competitions – going so far as having a rule instituted thanks to her. The “Katarina Rule” states that performers must wear more conservative outfits in response to Witt rocking a trademark skimpy suit…skimpier than the usual. A true trailblazer for everyone who continues her success off the rink as a business owner and actress.

3. Analeigh Tipton

Analeigh Tipton is one of the ice skating figures who parlayed her early success in the field into mainstream popularity towards a career in showbusiness. The Minneapolis-born model and celebrity is not just known for her exploits in her career as a young figure skater, but also for her appearances in TV as a top ranker in America’s Next Top Model, apart from appearances on the silver screen such as Warm Bodies and Crazy in Love. Who’s to say there’s no life after the lights and crowds of figure skating?

4. Michelle Kwan

There is nothing more anybody can say about Michelle Kwan – she is, after all, only one of the most decorated and most renowned figure skaters in Olympics and skating history itself. She has been one of the most consistent performers in the history of the sport from her early days as a substitute to more established skaters (and just as remarkable a career as many), Tony Harding and Nancy Kerrigan in the 1994 Olympics. And she still remains as one of the most experssively artistic in terms of technique as well as one of the most recognizable faces in the sport as a three-time Olympic gold medalist.

5. Tanith Belbin

Kingston, Canada-born American Tanith Jessica Belbin is one of the brightest lights in recent memory as one of the most decorated ice skaters in the history of the United States and the world, and is proudly representing the USA as one of its leading lights on the world stage.

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The Four Most Famous Figure Skaters of All Time

There have been many famous figure skaters over the years, and that makes it difficult to narrow down the list to the four best. Many had to overcome various adversity to become the best. That’s why we decided to put together a list of the four most famous instead. These four skaters are our choice for the most famous, but there are certainly many who can match their skill – we simply believe these have had the biggest impact on the sport.

Kurt Browning

One of the best male figure skaters to come out of Canada was Kurt Browning. He was known for a bit of artistic flare that many of his contemporaries found hard to match. In figure skating, personality can be the difference between making it to the top and being an also-ran. Browning had that little something special, and that’s why he was able to capture the world title four times, as well as to lead the way for his country. While he never did capture Olympic gold, he was the first man to successfully land a quadruple jump in competition, making it next to impossible to leave him off this list.

Brian Boitano

Between 1985 and 1988 Brian Boitano became a household name for US figure skating fans, and throughout the world. He captured the world championship twice during that period, and in 1988 he reached the pinnacle of the sport by capturing the Olympic gold medal. While 3 years may seem like a short period of time to be at the top of the figure skating world, it was a memorable three years that few will ever forget. He was known as a strong technical skater, but in the early days he struggled with the artistic side. It was the extra attention to his perceived artistic weakness in the time period leading up to the Olympics in 1988 that enabled him to establish his rightful place in the annals of figure skating history.

Katarina Witt

As far as female figure skaters are concerned there’s one name that always comes to mind first – Katarina Witt. Most skaters find it difficult to win an Olympic medal, but Witt was able to find the strength and tenacity to win two Olympic golds. She was also European champion an amazing six times. Witt was known for her solid technical skills and almost flawless execution. She also happened to be in amazing physical shape her whole career, which is why she was able to remain at the top of her sport for so long.

Kristi Yamaguchi

The last skater to make our list is Kristi Yamaguchi. She was a two-time world champion, and in 1992 she reached the top of her sport by winning Olympic gold. She may not have quite the pedigree of some of the female skaters that came before her, but she was still one of figure skating’s shining lights during a successful career. It didn’t hurt that she was also a celebrity champion on Dancing with the Stars!

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