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What Five Things Do These Three Outstanding Ice Skaters Have In Common

Feb 6, 2008
Most of us try ice skating at some time in our lives. Skating round and round in clockwise circles with the wind in our faces. Then go inside for hot chocolate, our cheeks rosy and fingers chilled through the mittens. If we skated backwards successfully, it was an achievement.

Bonnie Blair started skating round and round in circles when she was only two. It became more than recreation for her. Her five siblings raced in speedskating competions and she grew up learning to skate along with them. Someone nicknamed her "Blur" because of her speed. The name stuck. She holds two medals from 1988's Olympic Games, one gold and one bronze. In 1992 she gained two more gold. She holds five Olympic gold medals and one bronze. The only person to win gold in three consecutive Olympic Games, she is an amazing speed skater. Retired since 1995 she coached the women on the speed skating team preparing them for the next Winter Olympic Games. She and her husband Dave Cruikshank lived in Milwaukee to be close to the Olympic size rink in West Allis on Wisconsin's State Fair grounds. She also flies around the country in her work as a motivational speaker to corporations to this day.

Tonya Harding started skating at the age of four. Her home life was said to be difficult with unstable parents who are now divorced. In spite of this she was able to have a successful career in ice skating. She placed fourth in her first Olympic Games. She was well known as the only woman able to land a triple axle. She did it in short and long programs. Before skating in the Olympics she performed successfully a quad loop. This was done for a Texaco commercial. Then in 1994 she won first place at Nationals. Her final Olympic performance was a disaster with her stopping her program and asking the judges to allow her to start over. She tearfully showed them a broken lace on one skate.

Jeff Gillooly (Tonya's ex-husband) hired Shane Stant to hit Nancy Kerrigan in the knee. She was able to recover enough in a month to compete in the Winter Games. She won silver while Tonya Harding placed eighth. The gold was taken by Oksana Baiul of Ukraine. Tonya Harding plead guilty to conspiracy for not cooperating with police in the investigation of Jeff Gillooly and Shane Stant. She's banned for life by the US Figure Skating Association. She'll never compete in a sanctioned competition for the rest of her life..

She did compete in the ESPN contest in 2000 by invitation. The crowd seemed to welcome her and she won second place. Now she claims she would like to put together a skating show of her own someday.

Michelle Kwan holds the record number of medals from the US National Championships. She was World Champion five times. She has a silver medal from the 1998 Olympic Games and a bronze from the 2002 Olympics. Michelle skates her programs with the delicate grace of a ballerina. Not surprising she received 42 perfect 6.0 scores during her career. This is the record number for any singles skater in major competitions.

Michelle started skating at age five. She watched her brother playing ice hockey and wanted to imitate him. Her autobiography was published in 1997. The list of accomplishments is a long one. Through all the fame she remains an unassuming young woman. Imagine, an autobiography at her young age. She is popular with everyone. You'll notice she always wears a good luck charm on a necklace no matter where she goes. It is a Chinese good luck charm her grandmother gave to her a long time ago.

The five things these three accomplished skaters have in common are:

1. They started skating at an early age. Michelle was five, Tonya was three or four depending on who you believe and Bonnie was only two years old.

2. They are all gifted with a natural talent.

3. All three worked exceptionally hard.

4. They each had misfortune to overcome. In Tonya's case it was her unfortunate childhood. Bonnie had various injuries to deal with. Michelle handled the situation gracefully when a groin injury forced her to drop out of competition in her last Winter Olympics.

5. None of them ever gave up without a fight. In fact all three are active and successful in their respective ways. Some people might disagree in Tonya's case however, she is still trying to make something of her life...
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