Competitive figure skating is a tough sport to excel in, and those who wish to get to the top often start the intensive training that is required of these athletes at a very young age. After learning that the average age of a figure skater is just over 22 years old, it seems as though early retirement is on the cards for these sports legends.
American figure skaters in particular have a lot resting on their shoulders, as they have managed to nab medals in every single Winter Olympics since 1948. As such, their 18 consecutive wins have seen the nation land the top spot of the medal table with a huge gap to fill from rivals.
The women of this sport have become household names with their spins and zooming routines, making the likes of Tonya Harding, Michelle Kwan, and Tara Lipinski some of the most famous women athletes of all time. Here we get to take a look at where these women ended up after years of being on the ice. Did any of them continue with their skating background? Perhaps they took a different route altogether? Regardless of where they have gone, though, these women all know what hard work and dedication really mean.
While this sport may appear as though it’s all glitz and glam, there is a tremendous amount of blood, sweat, and tears that go into the hours of practice to perfect the routines. From the tight-bodied and majestic Axel to the open-legged flip, from the faithful backward Lutz to the springlike, ethreal Salchow, there are a huge number of moves that can be learned when preparing for a career in figure skating. If the various jumps weren’t enough to leave someone feeling boggled, it can be overwhelming to find out these skaters often spin at 300 revolutions per minute (RPM). With the room passing by as fast as an astronaut spinning round in centrifuge training, it might be easy to think that these skaters lose their vision. However, there is one thing they never lose focus from: the highly sought after gold medal.
Back in 3,000 BCE, people of the world thought up the idea of ice skates to help them get around more efficiently on the ice. Over 5,000 years later, we now have the most advanced skates ever, which allow athletes to push the boundaries further than ever before. The skates have led to figure skating, the oldest winter game, becoming the second most popular sport of the Winter Olympics, just misses out to snowboarding. With so many edge of your seat moments to keep the audience entertained, these athletes have left a lasting impression that makes us wonder: just where did they end up after all this time?
Tonya Harding figure skating
Tonya Harding initially became famous as the first figure skater in the sport’s history to successfully pull off a triple Axel before adding a double toe loop to the move. Her impressive moves won the skater the U.S. gold medal in 1991, as well as a silver medal the following the year. However, her name later became known for a different reason, after Tonya was booted from the Figure Skating Association in the U.S. following her pleading guilty to obstructing the trial on the assault of fellow U.S. of figure skater, Nancy Kerrigan.