Little Bits of History

Ice Skating

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 20, 2012

Tara Lipinski

February 20, 1998: Tara Lipinski wins a gold medal for figure skating. Tara was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 10, 1982. She took up roller skating at the age of three and won competitions. She went on to figure skating at age six because she wanted to go faster. She first competed in 1990 at the regional championships and came in second.  Returning to wheels in 1991 she took first for freestyle as a nine-year-old at the US Roller Skating Championships. Back on ice, Tara came to national attention at the 1994 US Olympic Festival competition, winning at the junior level.

The 1998 Winter Olympics were held in Nagano, Japan. Tara had lost to Michelle Kwan prior to their meeting again in Japan. Michelle’s performance was earlier in the competition and was brilliantly executed. Tara skated toward the end of the lineup. She also performed brilliantly. Her routine was more technically difficult with a triple jump at the very end of her program. She took the gold – the youngest Winter Olympics gold medallist at the age of 15 years, 8 months, and 10 days. Michelle took silver and Chen Lu of China took the bronze.

Richard Callaghan was Tara’s coach. He also coached Todd Eldredge, six time US Champion and 1996 World Champion. His other national title holder was Nicole Bobek. Tara withdrew from the 1998 World Figure Skating Championships on March 9, 1998. She chose to turn to professional skating. She toured with Stars on Ice for four seasons. She sustained injuries to her hip and this caused her skating performances to decline. Due to persistent injuries, she has not skated professionally since 2002.

The youngest Olympic gold medallist was Marjorie Gestring of the US who won the three meter springboard competition when she was 13 years, 268 days old. Michael Phelps has won the most gold medals with 14 at the 2004 and 2008 Games. He also won two bronze medals for a total of 16. Larissa Latynina is one of four who have won nine gold medals. She also won five silver and four bronze medals for a total of 18 (most overall) in Games held between 1956 and 1964. The most gold medals at a single Olympic Games goes to Michael Phelps with eight in 2008. Between 1936 and 1960 Aladâr Gerevich of Hungary took six gold medals in Team Sabre, the most for any single event.

Her winning program

Tara (Lipinski) got out there like a bat out of hell and skated her guts out. Michelle skated very well, but she skated conservatively. She skated great, just not fantastic. That was the difference. – Frank Carroll

It’s hard work, and you have to love the sport so much. I think that shines through. If you don’t love it, or you do it for someone else, you won’t be able to hang onto it. Not only did I want it, I loved it. You really have to love it from within every corner of your body. – Tara Lipinski

I had that feeling of just pure joy and I went out there and put it in my program. – Tara Lipinski

I was so worried about winning, it was as if I was caught up in my own web. – Michelle Kwan

Also on this day:

Iceberg Ahead – In 1856, the ship John Rutledge struck an iceberg and sunk.
Medal of Honor – Butch O’Hare was declared the first US flying ace during World War II.
The Met – In 1872. New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opened.

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on February 20, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Pretty girls and good looking boys lately is all I have seen in the last 20 years or so. At the international level the ice skating scoring is based on the lack of mistakes which has resulted in much boredom because of the lack of taking chances in their performances. Also, the pair skating has been for basically the two doing the same routine- very boring. No interaction mostly.

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