Then & Now: Famous Figure Skaters From Around The World

For many young figure skaters, competition is something they dream of, especially the Winter Olympics. Then, after training for years, their moment is over in a flash.

Now, they have to adjust to life without competing for medals. Here is what some iconic figure skaters are up to today.

Tonya Harding

Former U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding was an accomplished athlete, but she never could finish higher than 4th at the Winter Olympics.

Tonya Harding
Focus on Sport/Getty Images; Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images
Focus on Sport/Getty Images; Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images

Even so, that didn’t stop Harding from making more than one headline during her career. Harding has since done celebrity boxing and has been the subject of books and even a biopic starring Margot Robbie, I, Tonya.

Tara Lipinski

At 15 years old, former figure skater Tara Lipinski made history at the 1998 Winter Olympics by becoming the youngest to win gold. Lipinski has also won a World Championship and the Championship Series Final twice.

Tara Lipinski
Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/TempSport/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images; Michael Tullberg/Getty Images
Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/TempSport/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images; Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

After retiring from competitions, Lipinski toured and commentated for NBC figure skating broadcasts.

Nicole Bobek

Nicole Bobek was projected to be part of the future of women’s figure skating. Unfortunately, things for Bobek’s future did not go as planned. Bobek has only a bronze at the 1995 Worlds and a gold at the 1995 US Championships.

Nicole Bobek
Jamie Squire /Allsport/Getty Images; Desiree Navarro/WireImage/Getty Images
Jamie Squire /Allsport/Getty Images; Desiree Navarro/WireImage/Getty Images

Bobek went on to teach hockey players skating skills.

Sasha Cohen

Former figure skater Sasha Cohen won a silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Cohen ended her career when she failed to make the 2010 US Olympic team.

Sasha Cohen
Scott Nelson/AFP/ Getty Images; Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Scott Nelson/AFP/ Getty Images; Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Post-skating, Cohen acted on TV and in movies such as Blades of Glory. She is a 2016 US Figure Skating Hall of Fame inductee.

Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan has an impressive resume of figure skating accomplishments. The former US figure skater has an Olympic silver and bronze, five World Championships, and nine US Championships.

Michelle Kwan
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images; Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Women’s Sports Foundation
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images; Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Women’s Sports Foundation

Off the ice, Kwan impressed people again after being nominated and becoming the US Ambassador to Belize on September 29, 2022.

Peggy Fleming

Retired US figure skater Peggy Fleming won a gold medal at the 1968 Winter Olympics in France, the only athlete from the US to win gold at those Games.

Peggy Fleming
AFP via Getty Images; D Dipasupil/FilmMagic/Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images; D Dipasupil/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Fleming also won three World Championships and has been a figure skating commentator for over twenty years. She’s even appeared in films such as Blades of Glory.

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean

Former British figure skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean are two-time ice dancing medalists with their 1984 gold and 1994 bronze medals.

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean
S&G/PA Images/Getty Images; ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images
S&G/PA Images/Getty Images; ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images

The duo captivated their nation and the world on the way to becoming one of the most iconic figure skaters ever. After their time on the ice, the duo became figure skating ambassadors.

Surya Bonaly

Figure skating fans will remember French skater Surya Bonaly for attempting an “impossible” move on the ice at an Olympics, a backflip, landing on a single blade. Bonaly has won an impressive nine French Championship titles but never an Olympic medal.

Surya Bonaly
Wegner/ullstein bild/Getty Images; Foc Kan/WireImage/Getty Images
Wegner/ullstein bild/Getty Images; Foc Kan/WireImage/Getty Images

As of 2022, Bonaly teaches figure skating to youth in Minnesota.

Elvis Stojko

Elvis Stojko is a former Canadian figure skater and two-time Olympic silver medalist. Stojko was the first to complete a quadruple-triple combo. Fans of the sport will remember him for his elaborate costumes and for attempting aggressive moves on the ice.

Elvis Stojko
Jamie Squire/Getty Images; Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Jamie Squire/Getty Images; Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Stojko still performs solo professionally and with his wife, Gladys Orozco.

Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner

Former figure skaters Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner made history when they became World champions in 1979. The duo was the first US champion in the sport in over two decades. They qualified twice for the Olympics, withdrawing from one.

Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner
Tony Duffy/Getty Images; Paul Redmond/Getty Images
Tony Duffy/Getty Images; Paul Redmond/Getty Images

Since retiring from competition, Babilonia coaches while Gardner does some choreography work.

Philippe Candeloro

Philippe Candeloro is a retired French figure skater who won a bronze at the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics. Candeloro famously executed a move by accident which he then incorporated into his on-ice routine.

Philippe Candeloro
Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images; Foc Kan/WireImage/Getty Images
Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images; Foc Kan/WireImage/Getty Images

Retiring in 1998, Candeloro went on to enter the world of news and sports journalism broadcasting.

Katarina Witt

Katarina Witt is considered by many as one of the best singles figure skaters ever. During the peak of her career, Witt won two Olympic gold medals and four World Figure Skating Championships.

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David Madison/Getty Images; Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
David Madison/Getty Images; Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

After skating was over, Witt worked in both television and film before aiding a failed bid for Munich to host the 2018 Olympics.

Brian Orser

Brian Orser is a former Canadian figure skater who never quite could win the big moment. Orser’s outstanding career includes gold at the 1987 Worlds and back-to-back silver medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.

Brian Orser
David Madison/Getty Images; Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
David Madison/Getty Images; Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Orser retired and became a coach, leading Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu to win Olympic gold.

Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton is a former US figure skater and 1984 Olympic gold medalist. Hamilton was known for attempting daring moves that were also illegal in competition. Hamilton also won four consecutive US Championships and four Worlds.

Scott Hamilton
David Madison/Getty Images; Donna Ward/Getty Images
David Madison/Getty Images; Donna Ward/Getty Images

After retiring from the ice, Hamilton started the CARES Initiative for cancer research.

Kitty and Peter Carruthers

Kitty and Peter Carruthers were a unique duo because they were siblings who competed in the pairs category together. They won the bronze at the 1982 Worlds and the silver at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics.

Kitty and Peter Carruthers
Martin Athenst├Ądt/picture alliance/Getty Images; Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Martin Athenst├Ądt/picture alliance/Getty Images; Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

While the duo comes together on the ice for special events, they are retired from competition. Peter is in broadcasting and Kitty coaches in Houston.

Viktor Petrenko

Viktor Petrenko won the 1992 Olympic gold and didn’t stray far from the ice after retiring from hard competition. After he left the competitive ice, Petrenko went on to tour professionally and work as an International Skating Union (ISU) Technical Specialist.

Viktor Petrenko
Wegner/ullstein bild/Getty Images; CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images
Wegner/ullstein bild/Getty Images; CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images

He even coaches figure skating stars like Oksana Baiul.

Oksana Baiul

Oksana Baiul won the hearts of her native Ukraine and shocked the world by winning the 1994 Winter Olympic gold at the age of 16 years old. She previously won the 1993 World Championships.

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Mike Powell/ALLSPORT; Denise Truscello/WireImage
Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/TempSport/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images; Brian Ach/WireImage/Getty Images

After she retired, Baiul still found herself on the ice, portraying Clara and Dorothy Gale in The Nutcracker on Ice and The Wizard of Oz on Ice, respectively.

Janet Lynn

From the time she could walk, Janet Lynn was on skates. Lynn won bronze at the 1972 Olympics, capturing the hearts of everyone watching her. Lynn has two Worlds and seven US Championships on her resume.

Janet Lynn
Bettmann/Getty Images; Deborah Hickey/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images; Deborah Hickey/Getty Images

Lynn skated professionally after retiring, became more spiritual, and has tried acting.

Shizuka Arakawa

Retired Japanese figure skater Shizuka Arakawa made history at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. Arakawa won gold in singles skating making her the first Japanese skater to win gold and only the second to medal.

Shizuka Arakawa
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images; YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images; YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

After skating was finished, Arakawa transitioned into skating commentary and produced a TV show.

Irina Slutskaya

Irina Slutskaya was figure skating excellence. The Russian-born retired skater has two Olympic medals (silver and bronze), six Worlds, nine European Championship medals, won the Grand Prix nine times, and is a four-time Russian national champion.

Irina Slutskaya
JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images; Dmitry Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images
JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images; Dmitry Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images

Slutskaya returned to Russia after retiring to act and was a skating ambassador.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White

The ice-dancing team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White is one of the greatest of all time. They won gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, silver in 2010, two Worlds, five Grand Prix titles, six US nationals, and much more.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White
PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP Images; Daniel Zuchnik/FilmMagic/Getty Images
PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP Images; Daniel Zuchnik/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Today Davis and White still perform together on tour.

Midori Ito

Midori Ito is a former Japanese figure skater. Ito won a silver medal at the 1992 Albertville Olympics and was the first female to land seven triple jumps successfully in one competition.

Midori Ito
Dimitri Iundt/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images; Lutz Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images
Dimitri Iundt/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images; Lutz Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images

Ito retired and then returned in 2011 and is a World Figure Skating Hall of Fame inductee.

Kristi Yamaguchi

Kristi Yamaguchi is not only a singles figure skating champion, but she has also won pairs competitions. Yamaguchi won Olympic gold in 1992 and two World Championship titles.

Kristi Yamaguchi
Focus on Sport/Getty Images; Momodu Mansaray/WireImage/Getty Images
Focus on Sport/Getty Images; Momodu Mansaray/WireImage/Getty Images

Yamaguchi retired and found herself on the stage of Dancing with the Stars, winning the coveted disco ball trophy during the sixth season of the show.

Dorothy Hamill

In 1976, Dorothy Hamill won Olympic gold representing the United States. The Chicago-born figure skater had quite a successful 1976, winning the World Championships in March before her Olympic gold.

Dorothy Hamill
Focus on Sport/Getty Images; CRAIG SJODIN/ABC/Getty Images
Focus on Sport/Getty Images; CRAIG SJODIN/ABC/Getty Images

Hamill joined many of her peers who are retired figure skaters and went into performing professionally, including on Broadway.

Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes only scratched the surface when she won bronze at the World Championship in Vancouver. One year later, Hughes shocked the figure skating world with a bronze at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Sarah Hughes
Brian Bahr /Allsport/Getty Images; Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Women’s Sports Foundation
Brian Bahr /Allsport/Getty Images; Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Women’s Sports Foundation

Hughes retired, earned herself a Bachelor’s degree, and went on to study Law.

Johnny Weir

Johnny Weir was known more as a performer and for his costumes than for figure skating. Weir showed promise early on with a 2008 bronze medal but no medals in two Olympic appearances.

Johnny Weir
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images; Greg Doherty/Getty Images
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images; Greg Doherty/Getty Images

After retiring, Weir teamed up with his best friend Tara Lipinski as an analyst on TV.

Debi Thomas

Debi Thomas started skating at the age of five. She finished first in her debut figure skating event at only nine years old. Thomas’ shining moment was her bronze medal at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

Debi Thomas
Bettmann/Getty Images; Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images; Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Thomas studied medicine and was a practicing doctor after retiring from her time skating.

Alexei Urmanov

Alexei Urmanov is a former Russian figure skater best known for winning the 1994 gold at the Olympic Games in Lillehammer. Previously, Urmanov won bronze at the 1993 World Championship and won Russian nationals four times.

Alexei Urmanov
S&G/PA Images/Getty Images; Vladimir Pesnya/RIA Novosti/Getty Images
S&G/PA Images/Getty Images; Vladimir Pesnya/RIA Novosti/Getty Images

Urmanov went on to coach in Sochi and conducts figure skating clinics in his spare time.

Kurt Browning

Despite winning four World Championship titles, former Canadian figure skating legend Kurt Browning never won Olympic gold. Browning is the first skater to land a quadruple jump in any competition.

Kurt Browning
Gilbert Iundt; Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/TempSport/Corbis/VCG; Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Gilbert Iundt; Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/TempSport/Corbis/VCG; Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Once Browning stopped competing in figure skating, he began working as a choreographer of programs for many rising stars.

Patrick Chan

Patrick Chan represented Canada with pride in figure skating with all his success on the ice. Chan won two silver medals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics before his gold medal-winning performance at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games.

Patrick Chan
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images; Ben Nelms/Getty Images
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images; Ben Nelms/Getty Images

In 2020 after retiring, Chan was named an Olympic Committee Ambassador. He is considered one of the greatest Canadian male figure skaters of all time.