Your Favorite 90s Figure Skaters: Where Are They Now?
The 1990s were a golden age for ice skating. What little girl watching the Winter Olympics on TV didn't want to grow up to be Tara Lipinski, Michelle Kwan, or Kristi Yamaguchi? All of those 90s trends — sparkly costumes, French braids, and scrunchies — were tailor-made for the ice rink. As we gear up for the upcoming Sochi Olympics, let's take a trip down memory lane to find out what happened to those 90s Olympic figure skaters we all idolized...
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Michelle Kwan, Then
Michelle Kwan made her first appearance on the rink at the age of 13 at the 1994 World Championships. She went on to claim the silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, even though she was heavily favored to take gold.
Born in California to parents from Hong Kong, Kwan took up ice skating after seeing her older brother play ice hockey. Anything boys can do, girls can do better, right?
Michelle Kwan, Now
After a serious groin injury (yikes) forced her out of the 2002 Olympics, Kwan studied at the University of Denver and was named a public advocacy envoy for the U.S. State Department.
She was a correspondent for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Kwan and Clay Pell, a White House national security expert, were married in 2013. D’aw! She’s also the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, winning 43 championships.
Tara Lipinski, Then
Everyone wanted to be Tara Lipinski back in the day. In 1998, then-15-year-old Lipinski became the youngest individual ever to win an Olympic gold medal, beating out the heavily favored Michelle Kwan.
She started training for Olympic stardom when she was three years old after taking roller-skating classes.
Tara Lipinski, Now
Lipinski turned professional fast after her 1998 Olympic victory. Even though she suffered some debilitating injuries, she toured with “Stars on Ice” and wrote several books about her experiences.
She was inducted into the Ice Skating Hall of Fame in 2006. When asked about winning the gold medal back in 1998, Lipinski told The Huffington Post, “I really think I was in shock for a little bit because you think about this one goal every single day.”
Tonya Harding, Then
Harding is one-half of the duo behind ice skating’s most infamous scandal. At the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating National Championships, Harding’s then-husband Jeff Gillooly (that’s fun to say) admitted to hiring a hit man to “whack” her competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, in the leg.
Harding denied any involvement in the scheme, but later plead guilty “to trying to hinder prosecution of the attackers.” She was banned from figure skating for life.
Tonya Harding, Now
After being banned from skating, the self-described ”Charles Barkley on ice” kept herself busy by releasing a sex tape, boxing for reality television, writing a book about how her ex-husband allegedly raped her at gunpoint, and taking up woodworking.
Nancy Kerrigan, Then
After being smacked by Harding’s ex-husband, Nancy Kerrigan secured her role as America’s sweetheart.
But she wasn’t without ice skating chops — her teammates voted to send her to compete in the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, where she won the silver medal.
Nancy Kerrigan, Now
After all the controversy in 1994 ended, Kerrigan retired and became a professional ice skater.
She married her agent in 1995 and later appeared in the Will Ferrell flick Blades of Glory. She’ll be be a figure skating analyst for NBC at the upcoming Sochi Olympics. Word is, she still refuses to speak with Tonya Harding.
Kristi Yamaguchi, Then
Kristi Yamaguchi was born with club feet and only took up ice skating as a form of therapy. Good thing she did. Yamaguchi went on to win gold at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, and was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1999.
She also has our vote for best poofy bangs.
Kristi Yamaguchi, Now
Oksana Baiul, Then
Before she was even 14, Oksana Baiul lost her mother and the grandparents who had helped raise her in Ukraine.
Nonetheless, she worked her way up to the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, where she won the gold medal over Nancy Kerrigan, despite requiring stitches the day of the program. Baiul moved the United States, where she developed a drinking problem. After getting a DUI, she entered rehab in 1998.
Oksana Baiul, Now
Baiul sued NBC for $5 million last year, alleging that the network used her name for two TV specials without her permission.
Production company Disson Skating says Baiul gave them ”flaky” answers and was a no-show to their events, which featured Styx and Kenny G. But who wouldn’t want to go to those shows?
Nicole Bobek, Then
Nicole Bobek, Now
In 2009, fans were stunned to hear that Bobek faced 10 years of prison time for her involvement in a meth distribution ring.
After getting five years probation, she’s since cleaned up her act and is skating again.