Figure skating has long had a reputation as something of a star-maker at the Winter Olympics. It could be the amazing, glittery outfits, it could be the music, or it could be the drama, but whatever the reason may be, the stars of the figure skating world tend to really stick with us. We remember them long after they’ve hung up their skates. And of course we want to know where some of the most famous figure skaters in recent history might be now.
Figure skating got its origins in Europe some time around the 18th century, four centuries after the Dutch first invented ice skates. It took four centuries for people to actually have enough recreation time to enjoy skating, apparently, and figure skating was born when skaters tried to literally form figures on the ice with their cool dance tricks.
Things have changed considerably since then, of course. Now figure skaters are less concerned with making actual figures on the ice and more worried about landing a triple axel or a triple salchow or some other amazingly athletic endeavor.
No wonder we remain fascinated by figure skaters. Especially these ones.
Nancy Kerrigan JOHN MOTTERN/AFP/Getty Images
It’s been 28 years since
Nancy Kerrigan’s career as a figure skater hit its heights. The talented skater won a bronze in 1992 and a silver medal in 1994, but sadly those were to be her last medals. In Jan. 1994 she was attacked by an assailant who had allegedly been hired by fellow skater Tonya Harding’s husband to disable her before the 1994 Winter Olympics, but she managed to compete regardless.
Kerrigan continued to skate as a professional in shows like Broadway on Ice, and even competed on Dancing With The Stars in 2016. She married manager Jerry Solomon in 1995 and the couple went on to have three kids, Matthew, Brian, and Nicole. Brian Boitano Bob Martin/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Brian Boitano took home the Olympic gold medal in figure skating in 1988, he could have been forgiven for just taking it easy from that point forward. Instead, Boitano has built a truly lovely life for himself in the years since his competitive figure skating career came to a close. He wrote a book on figure skating in 1997 called Boitano’s Edge: Inside the Real World of Figure Skating, toured with Champions On Ice for 15 years, and now splits his time between his life in San Francisco and Italy. Boitano bought and renovated his great-grandfather’s home in Italy, which was documented by HGTV, and loves to spend time wandering around Milan and Bologna. Boitano is also executive producing a new Netflix movie about a young Black man in the world of figure skating called Take The Ice. Michelle Kwan David Madison/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
In some ways, Michelle Kwan’s two Olympic medals (silver in 1998 and bronze in 2002) don’t even seem like the most impressive part of her life. Kwan went on to retire from figure skating in 2006, earn a master’s degree in international relations, and work as a U.S. State
Department adviser for Hilary Clinton during her 2016 presidential run. She was married to White House security strategist Clay Pell before parting ways in 2017, and in 2022 she welcomed her first baby, a daughter named Kalista. Kwan was also named the U.S. Ambassador to Belize by President Biden, so life is looking pretty busy for the 41-year-old mom. Dorothy Hamill TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
When Dorothy Hamill won her Olympic gold medal in 1976, she also inspired a generation of girls to get the Dorothy Hamill bob. (She was basically the Rachel before
Friends.) Since her time on the ice ended after she toured with the Ice Capades throughout the ‘80s, Hamill went on to run the Ice Capades herself after she bought the company and put an end to humiliating weekly weigh ins. The former star has worked with several charities like the AIDS Foundation, the International Special Olympics, and the American Cancer Society.
Hamill herself survived a breast cancer diagnosis in 2008, and continues to live with husband John MacColl between their homes in Vail, Colorado and Indian Wells, California.
Johnny Weir Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images
Johnny Weir’s time on the ice has never really ended. The two-time Olympian has remained devoted to the sport since he last skated at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. He and fellow
figure skater Tara Lapinski have gone on to provide analysis and commentary for NBC Sports, and they were so well received at the Sochi Olympics that they have gone on to secure a regular spot.
Weir currently lives in Greenville, Delaware, and has actually taken on training 22-year-old Team USA figure skater Mariah Bell for the 20222 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
Tara Lipinski Simon M Bruty/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
At 15 years old,
Tara Lapinski was the youngest female figure skater to ever bring home the Olympic gold medal in 1998, and she made the decision to go professional almost immediately afterwards. She and her friend Weir have gone on to provide commentary for figure skating and other big events like the Kentucky Derby for NBC Sports, and Lapinksi has even done some acting over the years. She appeared on the soap opera Young And The Restless, but told People that she “does not consider myself an actress.”
Which is fine since she certainly has other options to keep her going.
Peggy Fleming Boston Globe/Boston Globe/Getty Images
Peggy Fleming made history in 1968 as the only member of Team USA to bring home a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. Her time as a figure skater was such a big deal that she was named one of seven athletes who changed their sport by
Sports Illustrated in 1999.
Now Fleming is a 73-year-old mother of two and a grandmother of one, married to husband Greg Jenkins, and continues to work within her sport. After working as a figure skating commentator for 28 years,
Fleming developed her own trophy called the Peggy Fleming trophy for the sport that focused on the artistry rather than the technical aspects. Tonya Harding CHRIS WILKINS/AFP/Getty Images
Sadly, Tonya Harding never won an Olympic medal, placing fourth at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. Those would be her only Olympic Games, as she was embroiled in the Nancy Kerrigan affair in 1994 and retreated from figure skating.
In recent years, Harding enjoyed a bit of a return to the limelight when the 2017 biopic about her life,
I, Tonya, received critical praise. Harding tried her hand at boxing, had an appearance on Dancing With The Stars, and has been a commentator on several television shows. She remarried in 2010 and welcomed a son in 2011, and now lives a quiet life in Washington State. Scott Hamilton JUHA JORMANAINEN/AFP/Getty Images
In some ways it seems as if Scott Hamilton has become the face of mens figure skating. When he won gold at the 1984 Olympic Games in Sarajevo, he was the first American in 24 years to stand at the top of the podium. And all these years later, it feels like he never left.
Hamilton has been a longtime commentator for figure skating and has even enjoyed several cameos in movies like Trainwreck and Blades of Glory. The skater has struggled with testicular cancer and two brain tumors over the years, and has started several charitable organizations to help others battle the disease. He and his wife Tracie live in Tennessee, where they have raised four children together. They adopted daughter Evelyne and son Jean-Paul from an orphanage in Haiti in 2014. Kristi Yamaguchi David Madison/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images Kristi Yamaguchi’s gold medal win at the 1992 Olympics set her off on a path that changed her life. Yamaguchi ended up marrying former hockey player Brett Hedican just eight years later, and the couple welcomed two daughters together, Emma and Keara. Emma, at least, appears to be interested in following in her mom’s footsteps and wants to be a skater. Yamaguchi even managed to enlist her former pairs partner Rudy Galindo to coach Emma.
The former Olympian lives in California with her family, where she stays focused on working with her Always Dream Foundation which offers low-income families tools to improve literacy.
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