The sparkly outfits, the amazing dance moves, the spins, the double Axels, the triple loops, and every little other thing about figure skating makes the sport incredibly enjoyable to watch. However, it is not as easy to perform: there is an abnormal amount of intricacies that goes into this discipline. Figure skaters work day and night, give up their social lives, practice through sprained ankles and bruised hips, and truly perform live art. It is one of the most competitive sports out there, and only a rare few are able to reach the top. These figure skaters defy gravity and bend their bodies in impossible angles that take years of practice to perfect. You can watch their performances for hours on end, jaws dropped in shock that these individuals are not only dancing on ice but are spinning so fast you can’t follow them with your eyes. You can get dizzy from just watching them spin, and yet these athletes remain focused and don’t miss a beat.
When these competitive ice skaters are off-duty, they don’t go home and rest but rather they go on exhibition shows and perform in non-competitive programs like Stars on Ice and other gala programs. These exhibitions can be more fun to watch for the audiences but are not necessarily any easier for the figure skaters. They can let loose a bit more and not have to fear what score they will get but the audience is looking to be amazed and the figure skaters are expected to put on a show. And boy do they know how to perform. Gracie Gold changes in her classical music from competitive competitions in favor of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” This is where the figure skaters get the chance to show their personality to the audience and try out more riskier routines and spins.
These figure skaters either compete in a singles events or with a partner in competitions all around the world. All in the hopes of gaining a ticket to the Olympic team and to one day stand on that famous podium and receive a coveted Olympic medal. That is why we have compiled a list of the best female figure skaters, the ones who have taken home the gold time and again and followed their careers from day one until retirement. We needed to know what these Olympic medalists and superstars have been up to since they put their figure skates back in the closet.
Tonya Harding – then
Tonya Harding is a famous, or some might say infamous, American figure skater. She won the 1991 U.S competition and got the silver in 1992. Tonya was a two-time Olympian who was the first figure skater to execute the triple Axel and even a triple Axel with a double toe loop in a competition. She was later kicked out of the U.S. Figure Skating Association when she pled guilty to hindering the prosecution in a plea bargain against her fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.
Tonya Harding – now
After Tonya’s figure skating career concluded she turned to professional boxing. It was a short-lived career and she won 3 out 6 games she competed in. Tonya also dabbled in car racing tournaments in 2010. Tonya was married 3 times and divorced twice. She is still married to Joseph Price since 2010 and they have a son named Gordon together who was born one year after they got married. Recently the film I, Tonya was released and the famous actress Margot Robbie portrays Tonya in the movie.
Nancy Kerrigan – then
Nancy Kerrigan is an all-star figure skater. She holds two bronze medals from the 1992 Winter Olympics and from the 1991 World Championships. Nancy also won two silver medals at the 1994 Winter Olympics and the 1992 World Championships. Additionally, Nancy won the 1993 U.S. National Figure Skating Champion. In 1994, Tonya Harding’s husband at the time hired someone to attack Nancy, however, Nancy was able to recover and went on to win the Olympic Silver that year.
Nancy Kerrigan – now
Once Nancy retired from professional figure skating she went on to perform on Broadway on Ice as well as well as Champions on Ice in several ice shows. Most recently, Nancy competed on season 24 of Dancing with the Stars in 2017. Nancy appeared in a few television shows and movies in guest roles such as Blades of Glory and Boy Meets World. Nancy also served as a special correspondent for Entertainment Tonight in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Nancy also wrote the book Artistry on Ice which is an instructional figure skating book.
Tanith Belbin White – then
Tanith Belbin White was a professional ice dancer who competed in the 2006 Olympics Palavela in Turin. She received a silver for her figure skating. Tanith also placed first in the World figure skating competition four times. She won the Four Continents Competition three separate times and she is also a five-time U.S figure skating champion. Tanith competed alongside her skating partner Benjamin Agosto and they became a famous ice skating duo who was widely known for being the best of the best.
Tanith Belbin White – now
Tanith Belbin White met her boyfriend Charles White at Easter Michigan University. Since Tanith retired from competitive figure skating she worked as a commentator for Universal Sports Network on ice dancing. She also commentated for icenetwork.com and the television series Dancing with the Stars. Tanith works as a choreographer and she competed in season 3 of Battle of the Blades and finished in 3rd place with her partner Boyd Devereaux. Tanith and Charles got engaged in 2014 and married in 2015.
Sasha Cohen – then
Sasha Cohen has a total of 12 medals on her pedestal. Over the years Sasha took home 1 gold, 4 silvers, and a bronze at the U.S. Championships. Sasha won the gold and then a silver the next year a the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Finals. When Sasha competed in the World Championships she won 2 consecutive silvers and a bronze. In the 2006 Turin Olympics, Sasha won the silver medal for Ladies singles category.
Sasha Cohen – now
Sasha wrote an autobiography in 2005 called Fire on Ice. Once she won an Olympic medal in 2006 she added a chapter to her book about it. In 2015 Sasha got engaged to her longtime boyfriend Tom May. By 2016 the couple was already happily married. In 2009 Sasha was a headliner on the Stars on Ice tour. She also performed at exhibitions such as the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting event. In 2010 Sasha did not make the Olympic team but she was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.
Gracie Gold – then
Gracie Gold is an artist on ice. Gracie truly has grace and style in all of her performances and is a pleasure to watch. Gracie became the 2012 World Junior silver medalist and then went on to win the U.S. national competition twice. Gracie made the Olympic national team and competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi where she received a bronze medal for the team category and placed in fourth in the individual ladies’ single category.
Gracie Gold – now
Gracie Gold has been competing in profession figure skating until 2017 she pulled out of all of her competitions due to personal and mental health issues. Gracie has no plans of retiring from her professional, impressive career however she seems to be taking some time off in order to focus on herself. Gracie has many trophies and Olympic medals on her mantle to be able to retire happily but this go-getter doesn’t plan on quitting anytime soon.
Ashley Wagner – then
Ashley Wagner is an unbelievable American figure skater. She is one of the best performers who dance to relevant and pop music and gets her audience on their feet. Ashley is also the 2012 Four Continents champion as well as a three-time Grand Prix Final medalist. She then went on to win 5 Grand Prix events. Ashley is also a three-time U.S. national champion as well as an Olympic medalist. Ashley was on the 2014 Winter Olympic team that received a bronze for the team category giving her a total of 9 medals.
Ashley Wagner – now
Wagner is not only skating around the world but she is also studying sports journalism. In 2012 Ashley received sponsorship from Nike, which led to becoming the brand ambassador for Pandora. In 2013 Ashley became one of the faces of Covergirl. Ashley is now training for the next few years for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Ashley is in the news almost every day and everyone is following her competitions cheering for her. If she makes it to the next Olympic games, she will be the oldest Olympic skater to compete in 90 years.
Rachael Flatt – then
Rachael Flatt was an American figure skater from 1996 to 2014. In the U.S. Championships Rachael took home 3 silvers and one gold over the years. In 2008 Rachael took home the World Junior Championships gold in Sofia. Rachael also competed in the World Team Trophy and won the coveted gold in 2009 in Tokyo. In 2010 Rachael made the U.S. national figure skating team to compete in Winter Olympics but she only placed in 7th.
Rachael Flatt – now
Rachael finished her career in professional figure skating to focus more on her studies in Standford Universtiy. Rachael majored in biology, received a minor in psychology, and she received her bachelor’s degree in 2015. Rachael continued to be an all-star in university as well, she became the university’s junior class president and was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority. Rachael has brains, brawn, and beauty. She has been working in a health research since 2016.
Peggy Fleming – then
Peggy Fleming is a famous former figure skater that took the world by storm with her impressive moves, unusual style, and dedication. Peggy is a three-time World Champion figure skating winner as well as an Olympic competitor. Peggy competed in the 1968 Olympics in France and took home the gold for the Ladies’ singles category. As a result of Peggy’s achievements, there was a stamp created in her image in 1983. Peggy was also named the ABC’s World Wide Sports Athlete of the Year in 1967.
Peggy Fleming – now
Peggy worked as the skating commentator for ABC Sports and was featured on a number of television shows and movies. Peggy is a breast cancer survivor and became an activist for the cause after undergoing a successful surgery. Peggy married her longtime boyfriend since their teenage years, Greg Jenkins who also was an ice skater. The impressive couple has two children and three grandchildren. The couple opened a winery in California and gave the profits to breast cancer research.
Kristi Yamaguchi – then
Kristi Yamaguchi is a household name for being one heck of a figure skater. When competing in the ladies’ single category Kristi blew away the competition and became a two-time World champion as well as the U.S. champion. In 1992, Kristi took home the gold at the Winter Olympic Games in France. Kristi also competed in the pairs category with her partner Rudy Galindo and became the two-time national champions. Kristi was inducted into the U.S.A. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Kristi Yamaguchi – now
Like many before her, Kristi went on to compete in Dancing with the Stars when she finished her professional skating career. Taking to the dance stage, Kristi actually became the champion of the 6th season and won. Kristi also wrote a children’s book in 2011. Kristi met Bret Hedican at the 1992 Winter Olympics when he competed for the USA Hockey team. They got married in 2000 and they live in California with their two daughters named Keara Kiyomi and Emma Yoshiko.
Madison Hubbell – then
Madison Hubbell is an American ice dancer who competes with her partner Zachary Donohue. However, she originally competed with her brother Keiffer Hubbell for the first decade of her professional skating career. With her brother, the sibling duo won the bronze medal at the Four Continents competition and won the JGP Final competition. The two are also two-time U.S. national medalists. Madison won the Four Continents competition with her most recent partner Zachary and they also took home the bronze four times at the U.S. national competition.
Madison Hubbell – now
Madison Hubbell and her brother Keiffer Hubbell started skating together at the age of nine and entered their first competition in 2001 and took home a gold medal on their first try. The two split up in 2011 to partner with different teammates. Madison is trailblazing at ice skating competition events with pop culture music and even more impressive moves every time the two compete. Madison and her partner Zachary have their own website so you can follow them and see their competitions. They are still training and competing to this day.
Emily Hughes – then
Emily Hughes was an impressive American figure skater. Emily won the silver medal at the 2007 National competition. Emily was also chosen to compete on the 2006 Olympic team to compete in Turin, Italy at the Winter Olympic Games. Despite having a recent injury in her ankle, Emily still tried to make the 2010 Winter Olympic team but placed in 9th and sadly only the first two spots were able to represent U.S.A. at the Olympics.
Emily Hughes – now
Emily attended Harvard University in 2007 and studied sociology with a minor in government. She continued training and competing in professional figure skating while at Harvard. She graduated in 2011 and went on to work as a legislative intern at the United States Senate. Emily then started working at Deloitte Consulting in New York City as a business analyst before working for the International Olympic Committee. In 2017 Emily married Amit Mukherjee who was listed in the Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30.
Madison Chock – then
Madison Chock is a 25-year-old ice dancer alongside her partner Evan Bates. The fantastic duo won the World competition twice as well as receiving the silver at the Grand Prix Competition twice. They competed in the Four Continents Competition and received medals four times and they are the 2015 U.S. national champions. They were chosen to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Although they gave it their all and impressed the audience, they sadly did not earn her a medal.
Madison Chock – now
Madison and her partner Evan Bates are currently preparing and training to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics that will take place in South Korea. Madison is a talented designer who designs her own competition outfits, as well as outfits for other competitive figure skaters. The duo teaches seminars and clinics to the next generation of ice skaters in order to pay it forward. They are still working with their coach and choreographer Igor Shpilband and have been working with him since the duo first formed.
Dorothy Hamill – then
Dorothy Hamill was a famous figure skater that competed three times in the World Championships and won two silver medals 1974 and 1975. But by 1976 Dorothy took home the World Championship gold. Dorothy made it to the Olympic team that very same year and won the gold for the Ladies’ singles competition in the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria where she developed a new skating move called “Hamill camel”. Associated Press announced that Dorothy was tied for the most popular Olympic athlete of the year in 1993.
Dorothy Hamill – now
From 1977 to 1084 Dorothy was the Ice Capades headliner and soon after bought the company. However, the company was already financially strapped when they purchased it so they declared bankruptcy a year later and sold it. Dorothy skated on Broadway on Ice and competed on season 16 of Dancing with the Stars. Most recently, in 2017 Dorothy competed on the television series called Chopped. She also wrote two autobiographies, one is called on and Off the Ice. Hamill married three times and divorced twice, she is currently married to John MacColl.
Sarah Hughes – then
Sarah Hughes is a former figure skater for the American National team. Born in Great Neck, New York, from the age of three Sarah has been figure skating, and it truly paid off. Sarah won two silvers and two bronze medals at the U.S. Championships as well as two bronze medals from the elite competition called the Grand Prix Final. Sarah took home the bronze medal at the World Championships and finally in 2002 she made it to Salt Lake City to compete in the Olympics where she brought home the gold.
Sarah Hughes – now
Sarah is not only a talented figure skater but she is also a philanthropist. Sarah’s mother is a breast cancer survivor, which inspired Sarah to do a commercial for General Electric promoting breast cancer research. She also supported the Figure Skating in Harlem cause for over ten years. After taking home the Olympic gold, Sarah went on to study at Yale University, and is currently studying at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Sarah was also inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Carol Heiss – then
In the late 1950s and ’60s Carol Heiss was the number one figure skater of her time. Carol won the World championships a whopping five times in a row and went on to the Olympics in 1956 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy and won the silver for Ladies’ single category. In 1960 Carol still hadn’t had enough and went back to the Olympics in Squaw Valley, California, and this time Carol brought home the gold. She is presently 77 years old.
Carol Heiss – now
Carol left the world of figure skating for acting despite being the first female to ever land a double Axel jump. She was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Carol played the lead role in the Snow White and the Three Stooges movie released in 1961. She later went on to become a figure skating instructor in Ohio to multiple male and female Olympic gold medalists.
Meryl Davis – then
Meryl Davis is a fantastic Olympic figure skater that competes in the ice dancing category with her partner Charlie White. Meryl is a two time Olympian holding a gold, silver, and bronze Olympic medals. She also won the World Championship twice and won an additional two silvers in that competition. She is a three-time Four Continents Champion and a five-time Grand Prix Final champion. Not to mention that she has won the U.S. national championship six times! There is nothing she and White cannot do.
Meryl Davis – now
Meryl Davis went on to compete in the eighteenth season of Dancing with the Stars in 2014 with Maksim Chmerkovskiy as her partner. While Davis and White have performed in ice shows since their last competition, they have announced that they have put their competitive figure skating career to rest. Meryl currently lives in Birmingham, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan. She is studying cultural anthropology and Italian. In 2017 Meryl got engaged to her six-year boyfriend named Fedor Andreev.
Tenley Albright – then
Tenley Albright was born in 1936, and in the 1950s Tenley was the top figure skater of her time. Tenley became the champion of every competition she took part in. She was the U.S. National Champion from 1952-1956. Tenley was also the two-time North American champion as well as a two-time World Champion. In 1952 Tenley was sent to the Olympics with the American national team and she took home the silver. In 1956 Tenley went back for more and this time became the Olympic champion.
Tenley Albright – now
Tenley Albright is a triple threat with both beauty, talent, and brains. She was the first female American figure skater to win a gold medal for the U.S.A. Once she retired from competitive figure skating she became the vice president of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Tenley is a graduate of both The Winsor School and Harvard Medical School. Tenley was a surgeon for 23 years and she is currently the Director of the MIT Collaborative Initiatives. Tenley married twice and she is now married to the former owner of the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, Gerald Blakeley.
Maia Shibutani – then
Maia Shibutani is a talented American figure skater that who competes alongside brother Alex Shibutani in the partners’ category called ice dancing. Maia medaled three separate times at the World competition and she took home the gold at Four Continents championship in 2016. Maia has also won the NHK Trophy championship twice. She is also a two-time Skate America champion in a row. Maia also won the 2016 Cup of China and went on to the Winer Olympics in 2014 but unfortunately, she did not medal.
Maia Shibutani – now
Maia Shibutani started studying at the University of Michigan in 2012 and both her and her brother are graduates of the same university. The siblings have their own YouTube channel with millions of viewers. They both act as the sports envoys for the U.S. State Department. The two also mentor middle school South Korean children about health and nutrition. The cutest duo deserves an even cuter nickname and was dubbed the ShibSibs and they went along with it and even named their YouTube channel the ShibSibs.
Polina Edmunds – then
Polina Edmunds was born in 1998 and has been competing in figure skating since she was four years old. She is still competing to this day and holds a gold and two silver medals on her mantle. Polina was the 2015 Four Continents champion. She also took home the silver in the U.S. National competition in 2014 and in 2016. Polina was chosen to represent the U.S. at the Sochi Winter Olympics, but did not medal. She is currently practicing and aiming to win at the next Olympic games.
Polina Edmunds – now
Polina Edmunds went to Santa Clara University to study communications in 2016 and was a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority. However, in March 2017 Polina went back to the ice despite withdrawing from the 2016 competitions due to a foot injury. Polina is still in school and studies in the mornings so that she can practice skating in the afternoons. In her little spare time, Polina likes to paint, draw and bake,
Elaine Zayak – then
Elaine Zayak was a top figure skater in the ’80s. She took the world by storm when she won the 1981 U.S. National competition and again in 1982 when she took home the gold at the World championship. In 1984 Elaine made it on to the Olympic national team to compete in the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia however despite all the hard work and effort that Elaine put in, she finished in sixth place without a medal.
Elaine Zayak – now
Elaine Zayak is now 52 years old and lives with her husband Zayak with their son Jack. Elaine actually had lost three toes on her left foot in a lawnmower accident when she was a child and starting figure skating as a form of physical therapy. Once she progressed into a competitive figure skater she has fashioned a wooden mold in her left skate to even out the imbalance of a lack of three toes on one foot. And it clearly worked!
Mirai Nagasu – then
Mirai Nagasu is an American figure skater who decimated her competition time and again. She has three gold medals from the Four Continents competition as well as a silver and two bronze medals. Mirai was also the JGP Final champion in 2007 as well as the six-time U.S. national medalist holding one gold, one silver and three bronzes from that competition. Mirai competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics and finished in sixth place.
Mirai Nagasu – now
Mirai Nagasu was accepted to study at the University of California in Irvine, but decided to attend the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs in 2015 instead, because it would be an easier commute. Mirai is studying business, however, she has not put her figure skates away. Mirai made it onto the 2018 Winter Olympics team after she won the silver medal at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. We wish Mirai good luck in the upcoming Olympics and can’t wait to cheer her on!
Bradie Tennell – then
Meet the woman who will be representing the United States in the upcoming Winter Olympics in 2018 in Pyeongchang. Bradie Tennell was born in 1998 in Winfield, Illinois, and has been ice skating since the age of two. She was the 2018 U.S national champion, which gave her the first spot on the U.S national Olympic team. Bradie has also won the bronze medal at the 2016 CS Tallinn Trophy competition as well as the bronze in the 2017 Skate America competition.
Bradie Tennell – now
This is Bradie with her fellow U.S. national Olympic team members Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen. Bradie actually was injured in 2015 and 2016, she had stress fractures in her lower back and therefore was considered an underdog for this competition to make it onto the U.S national Olympic team. The great Tara Lipinski (the 1998 Olympic gold medalist) is a fan and said that “When I watched her skate in comparison to the rest of (the) group she had (…) a very consistent technical arsenal and she never misses.”
Emily Samuelson – then
Emily Samuelson was born in 1990 and is a fantastic figure skater alongside her partner Evan Bates. This dynamic duo competed in the 2009 Four Continents competition and won the bronze medal. They also became the World Juinor champions in 2008 as well as U.S. National silver medalists in 2009. In 2010 Emily and Evan were chosen to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. However, this amazing team sadly did not medal.
Emily Samuelson – now
Emily Samuelson attended Michigan University and studied political economy and development receiving a degree in international studies. In 2016 Emily accepted the position at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Michigan as a financial advisor. While she’s put her figure skates away, she advises aspiring Olympians by saying, “Don’t give up. Ever. Perseverance will get you further than you ever thought possible. And enjoy the process, for that is just as important, if not more, than the competition. No matter what adversity I faced, I always kept going.”
Tara Lipinski – then
Tara Lipinski was a famous figure skater who only knew how to bring home the gold. Tara was the Grand Prix Final Champion twice in both 1996 and 1997. Tara was also the World Champion in 1997 and in 1998 Tara was the obvious choice to be sent to the Olympics. Tara won the gold medal for the Ladies’ singles at the Winter Olympics in Nagano. Tara is the youngest U.S national champion as well as the youngest Olympic gold medalist to with the Ladies’ single event taking home the gold at only 15 years old!
Tara Lipinski – now
Tara is both a superstar on and off the ice. She toured with Stars on Ice as well as starred in many famous television shows including 7th Heaven, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and Malcolm in the Middle. Tara later became the sports commentator for NBC Sports for the Sochi Winter Games which went so well that Tara became the main commentator for all things ice skating throughout the year. Tara is also the executive producer of a Hulu ice-skating drama show.
Michelle Kwan – then
Michelle Kwan is the most decorated American professional figure skater in all of U.S. history. In her 10-year career, Michelle was a nine-time U.S. champion, a five-time World Champion, and a two-time Olympic medalist. Michelle won the silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and the bronze medal in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. With endorsements and TV specials, Michelle maintained the reputation of being the most popular figure skater in America as well as one of the most popular female athletes for over a decade.
Michelle Kwan – now
Michelle won award after award for her figure skating and even for her beauty. Michelle was inducted into many halls of fame including the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. In 2006 she was announced as a public diplomacy ambassador. She worked with the former President of the United States as well as the Vice President and Secretary of State. Michelle then became the State Department senior adviser for public diplomacy and public affairs in 2012. She has starred in a few television shows, written an autobiography and has a net worth of $16 million.