The greatest female figure skaters of all time

The 10 female figure skaters who revolutionized the sport.


The only skater to ever win three Olympic gold medals (1928 St. Moritz Games, 1930 Lake Placid, 1934 Garmisch-Partenkirchen), Sonja Henie glamorized the sport, introducing short skirts and dance-like choreography. She also won a record ten world titles. (Associated Press)


The last woman to win consecutive Olympic gold medals (1984 Sarajevo and 1988 Calgary), Katarina Witt became a worldwide sex symbol. But to her rivals, "Kati" was a fearsome competitor, known for her icy stares and mind games (she would skate to her other's music). Fun fact: One of Witt's on-ice outfits was so skimpy that the governing body instituted the "Katarina Rule" requiring more modest costumes. (AFP)


Carol Heiss was known for combining grace and athleticism. She was the first female skater to land a double Axel, which she landed on her way to winning gold at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games. She coached many elite skaters, including 2002 bronze medalist Timothy Goebel.


Janet Lynn was largely seen as Peggy Fleming's successor, and had the same beautiful skating basics and style, but also attempted the then-rare triple jumps. A fine free skater, She was also known for falling in the 1972 Sapporo Games but smiling, which inspired another future Olympic medalist -- Michelle Kwan. (Associated Press/JWG/CK)


Oksana Baiul's rise was even more meteoric than Tara Lipinksi's. She won the world title in her first attempt and Olympic gold at the 1994 Lillehammer Games. She emerged the victor in the whole Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding saga. Oksana is best remembered for her expressiveness, balletic movement, and popularizing the catch-foot camel spin (even though she didn't invent it). (Associate Press/Doug Mills)


Peggy Fleming won the United States' only gold medal at the 1968 Grenoble Games. Peggy's victory was the end product of a period of rebuilding for United States figure skating; the entire team was killed in a plane crash on the way to the 1961 World Championships, The Grenoble Games were the first to be televised in color, and Fleming became an icon in the new era of TV. (Associated Press)


The most decorated skater in history to never win Olympic gold, Michelle Kwan first gained notoriety as Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding's alternate at the 1994 Olympic Games. Her career would span nearly a decade and a half. Kwan was known for her artistry, consistency, and making spirals important. Had the Winter Olympics not gone on staggered years, she may have been a two or three-time gold medalist. (Associated Press/Eric Draper)


Tara Lipinski burst onto the scene as a precocious 13-year-jumping bean, and one year later became the youngest national and world champion. She landed the first triple loop-triple loop combination in history to upset Michelle Kwan for gold at the 1989 Nagano Games -- the youngest individual winner in history. She now commentates for NBC. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)

Kristi Yamaguchi

Kristi Yamaguchi ended the United States' 16-year gold medal drought in 1992. She was one of the first skaters to regularly attempt 7 triple jumps in one program. After retiring, Yamaguchi helped revitalize the pro skating circuit. Fun fact: she's the last skater to medal in both the single and pairs event (with partner Rudi Galindo) at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. (Bob Martin/Getty Images)


Nicknamed "Tsunami Girl" in her native Japan, the diminunative skater was the first female to land a triple-triple combination (when she was just 12 years old). She revolutionized the sport when she landed became the first female to land a triple Axel, which she hit at the 1992 Albertville Games to win the silver medal. (Bob Martin/Getty Images)