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.