Where did the best figure skaters of the planet go?

20 Jun 2023

There are probably few people in the world who do not like to watch with bated breath how skaters skate on the ice with incredible grace, make jumps and spins. Therefore, we offer you to get acquainted with the best skaters of recent years and find out how their lives turned out after success on the ice.

Kristi Yamaguchi Then

One of the rare skaters that started out in a pair before switching to solo skating is Kristi Yamaguchi. She stunned the world in 1992 with her magnificent performance in the Winter Olympics in Albertville.

She had won the title of World Champion twice by that point—once the year prior and once the following year. She won the gold medal at the World Championship in 1989 and 1990 with Rudy Galindo at her side before going it alone. Also, she is a member of two Halls of Fame.

Kristi Yamaguchi – Then.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Kristi Yamaguchi Now

Yamaguchi quit competing and went on to become a well-known professional skater who spent many years travelling with Stars on Ice. Four years after winning the gold medal, she established the "Always Dream Foundation," a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote early childhood literacy.

In the sixth season of Dancing With the Stars, Yamaguchi was a sensation, continually blowing the judges away with her routine. Her children's book Dream Big, Little Pig! helped her break into the writing world in 2011.

Kristi Yamaguchi – Now.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Michelle Kwan Then

Michelle Kwan was one of the most talented skaters to debut in 1998. In Nagano, at the age of 18, she had spent years developing her aesthetic, but once Tara Lipinski burst into the scene, she was only able to win silver.

Kwan competed for a much longer period of time, earning five different World Championship gold medals in addition to a bronze in 2002. Following her injuries in 2006, Kwan eventually gave up competing.

Michelle Kwan – Then.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Michelle Kwan Now

When Michelle did decide to stop competing in figure skating, she had university in mind as a new endeavor. The talented athlete attended both Tufts University, which is close to Boston, Massachusetts, and the University of Denver.

She was hired as one of Hillary Clinton's campaign coordinators after graduating. Having worked for the U.S. Department of Education and Cultural Affairs, Kwan has built a successful career in politics. Kwan married Clay Pell while living in the White House, but regrettably, they split up last year.

Michelle Kwan – Now.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Brian Boitano Then

Throughout the 1980s, Brian Boitano was one of the most popular skaters. He won two World Championship titles during that time, in 1986 and again in 1988. He participated in the Olympic Games that year in Calgary, where he was successful in winning the men's singles gold medal.

The most eagerly awaited rivalry during the 1988 Games was that between Boitano and Brian Orser, a gold-medal matchup known as "Battle of the Brians." Boitano made the switch to competitive skating but competed in the Olympics again as an amateur in 1994.

Brian Boitano Then.jpg?format=webp@darthkale/reddit.com

Brian Boitano Now

Boitano's career has taken several different turns after he gave up competitive skating. One of his most important roles was skating alongside numerous other well-known skaters, notably Katarina Witt and his competitor, Brian Orser, in the German movie Carmen on Ice.

What Would Brian Boitano Make? is a show that Boitano landed for himself on the Food Network since he wasn't quite done with television yet. Boitano didn't openly come out until 2013, despite the fact that rumors about his romantic preferences had been circulating for a while.

Brian Boitano – Now.jpg?format=webp@Brian Boitano: "Skating Was a Calling for Me" | Where Are They Now | Oprah Winfrey Network/OWN/YouTube.com

Katarina Witt Then

Katarina Witt was skating for the East German team when she made her Olympic debut. She started her international career in 1977 and went on to dominate, winning six straight European Championships from 1983 to 1988 and becoming a four-time World Champion (1984, 1985, 1987, and 1988).

Katarina became the first solo female skater to do so since the 1936 Olympics when she won back-to-back gold medals in 1984 in Sarajevo and 1988 in Calgary, solidifying her position in history.

Katarina Witt – Then.jpg?format=webp@Top 10 Best Female Figure Skaters of all time/I Luv Movies/YouTube.com

Katarina Witt Now

Katarina was finally able to stray from figure skating following the unification of East and West Germany. Witt had the opportunity to appear for Playboy after she finished competing on the ice. With the release of her memoir Only With Passion in 2005, she expanded her career options from one to two by becoming an author.

Witt was part in the campaign for Munich to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and had a documentary made on her life in 2013 that highlighted how the reunification affected everything.

Katarina Witt Now.jpg?format=webp@dawg4816/reddit.com

Peggy Fleming Then

In 1968, Peggy Fleming gave one of her most memorable skating performances at the Winter Olympics in Grenoble. She earned the lone gold medal the United States won at the games that year, making her accomplishment noteworthy.

Peggy was a past World Champion in figure skating in addition to her incredible Olympic achievement. Fleming was prepared to marry Greg Jenkins, her high school sweetheart, in 1970. Being an amateur skater himself, Jenkins was familiar with the challenges faced by skaters.

Peggy Fleming Then.jpg?format=webp@Peggy Fleming - 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships - Free Skate/GoldenAgeofFS/YouTube.com

Peggy Fleming Now

Despite the fact that Fleming has now celebrated 50 years since winning the gold medal in France, she hasn't stopped accumulating successes since then. She and her husband Greg have two kids, Todd and Andy, whom she named.

Fleming overcame breast cancer in the 1990s and is a breast cancer survivor as well. She and Greg purchased a vineyard after she gave up ice skating, and at their peak, they were turning out 2,000 cases of wine year. They recently made the decision to stop working entirely.

Peggy Fleming – Now.jpg?format=webp@Peggy Fleming Looks Back At Her Olympic Gold Medal 50 Years Later | TODAY/TODAY/YouTube.com

Sarah Hughes Then

In spite of being one of the youngest skaters, Sarah Hughes made a sensation at her debut World Championship competition in Vancouver in 2001, winning third place. She was prepared to showcase her abilities at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics the following year.

Hughes won the gold medal for women's singles after dashing the judges with her performance. Irina Slutskaya, who finished second in the women's singles competition, and Michelle Kwan, who won the bronze, joined her on the podium.

Sarah Hughes – Then.jpg?format=webp@[HD] Sarah Hughes - "Don Quixote" 2000/2001 GPF - Round 1 Free Skating/Mintaka Alnilam/YouTube.com

Sarah Hughes Now

After winning her Olympic medal, Sarah enrolled at the esteemed Yale University because she had larger aspirations. She graduated with a degree in American studies, but Hughes still struggled to avoid the ice despite her studies.

She took a detour from her college studies to skate with Smuckers Stars on Ice. Hughes received an invitation to join the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. However, she is still enrolled in UPenn's law program, thus her academic career is not yet over.

Sarah Hughes Now.jpg?format=webp@MitchandSam/reddit.com

Sasha Cohen Then

Sasha Cohen was disappointed to only win a silver medal when she competed in the 2006 Olympic games in Turin, Italy, after having won three medals in various World Championship competitions. Cohen narrowly missed out on the gold.

She was committed to making the 2010 Olympic team, but she was unsuccessful, which caused her to retire. "I missed that crystal-clear sense of purpose and direction," she would remark. That clarity is difficult to find after you leave the world of a top athlete.

Sasha Cohen Then.jpg?format=webp@a2cthrawy/reddit.com

Sasha Cohen Now

Sasha wasn't quite ready to step away from the spotlight just yet, even though she had finished competing in figure skating. Before making the switch to acting, she spent some time on tour with Stars on Ice.

In addition to playing herself in the movie Blades of Glory, Cohen has played appearances on CSI: NY and worked as an Academy Awards correspondent. At Columbia University, Cohen completed her undergraduate work in political science. She is, regrettably, in the process of divorcing her husband.

Sasha Cohen – Now.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Dorothy Hamill Then

A unique Olympic record from the 1976 competitions is held by Dorothy Hamill and has not yet been beaten. She won the women's singles gold medal at the Innsbruck Winter Games in addition to the World Championship title in the same year.
Hamill's victory was exceptional because she was the only woman to win gold without executing a formal triple leap. She also introduced the Hamill camel, which starts off in a camel spin and then switches to a sit spin.

Dorothy Hamill – Then.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Dorothy Hamill Now

Hamill was prepared to shift into the professional world after her Olympic victories, which is a usual career change for Olympic skaters. Hamill obtained employment with the Broadway on Ice ice show. Later, she was chosen for the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars, which debuted in 2013.

Hamill unfortunately didn't get too far because she got hurt in the first several weeks. Hamill would soon be back in the spotlight when she made an appearance in the play Go Figure: The Randy Gardner Story.

Dorothy Hamill – Now.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Torvill and Dean Then

One of the greatest ice dance teams in history is Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. The British skaters have won an astonishing amount of gold medals over the years, including 16 of their total of 18 medals.

The 1984 Winter Olympics were completely dominated by Torvill and Dean, as they are more well known, who recorded the highest score ever—a record-breaking twelve flawless scores. No other skaters have accomplished that in the 34 years since.

Torvill and Dean Then.jpg?format=webp@summerjoe45/reddit.com

Torvill and Dean Now

By 1994, Torvill and Dean's career was in decline, and their performance in Lillehammer only resulted in a bronze medal. Nevertheless, they continue to be some of the most well-known ice dancers in history.

When they were done with competitive skating, they switched over to Stars on Ice, just like many other skaters. The couple performed the dance again in Sarajevo to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their flawless routine. Despite their chemistry on the ice, they have never been romantically involved.

Torvill and Dean Now.jpg?format=webp@half-agony-half-hope/reddit.com

Tonya Harding Then

Given her involvement in the assault on Nancy Kerrigan, Tonya Harding could be the most divisive figure skater in American history. Since their 1991 joint debut on the international scene, the two have been competitors. When Harding successfully executed a triple axel in competition, she made history. However, the attack on Kerrigan irrevocably damaged Harding's reputation. Harding was barred from competitive skating as a result of the incident, but she continued to use her athleticism in other ways.

Tonya Harding – Then.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Tonya Harding Now

After her skating career was over, Harding switched from dominating the rink to dominating the ring by turning pro. Harding elected to give up the sport after only winning three of her six matches.

She got married to Joseph Price, and they have a kid who is six years old. Harding works on projects close to her home in the Pacific Northwest while staying out of the spotlight. But ever since I, Tonya was out, she has been the subject of a fresh wave of interest.

Tonya Harding – Now.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Scott Hamilton Then

On-ice backflips continue to be most likely why Scott Hamilton is remembered. Hamilton was never able to perform the flip in a competition because it was prohibited before he started skating.
He amassed victories anyway, winning four World Champion titles.

These victories were in addition to his outstanding four consecutive U.S. Championship victories between 1981 and 1984. Hamilton expanded his collection of medals last year by winning the Olympic gold.

Scott Hamilton – Then.jpg?format=webp@Whatever Happened To USA Figure Skating Star Scott Hamilton/Grunge/YouTube.com

Scott Hamilton Now

Hamilton transitioned from his career in competition to a professional show career, but he went one step further by founding the hugely successful Stars on Ice. Despite being in remission since 1997, Hamilton battled testicular cancer in the 1990s in addition to his successful skating career.

Scott Hamilton – Now.jpg?format=webp@Whatever Happened To USA Figure Skating Star Scott Hamilton/Grunge/YouTube.com

David Pelletier & Jamie Salé Then

During their prime, the skating duo David Pelletier and Jamie Salé enjoyed a remarkable journey on and off the ice. In 2001, the two won the World Championships, and the following year, in Salt Lake City, they won the Olympic gold medal.

However, they had to work hard for their medal because they stumbled into a judging scandal. In the end, they prevailed because the competition favored them.

David Pelletier & Jamie Salé – Then.jpg?format=webp@Meddling | The 2002 Olympic Scandal That Shocked Figure Skating Forever/Peacock /YouTube.com

David Pelletier & Jamie Salé Now

The pair gave up competitive skating after their Olympic victory and began skating in a professional setting. Additionally, after realizing their romantic feelings for one another, the couple got engaged over Christmas in 2004.

The following year, they got married, and Jamie gave birth to Jesse Joe Pelletier, who is their son. Although they still chose to skate together, their marriage was not meant to endure, and neither could skating. They divorced formally.

David Pelletier & Jamie Salé – Now.jpg?format=webp@#SCI17 / #IPC17: Salé / Pelletier/SkateCanada PatinageCanada/YouTube.com

Oksana Baiul Then

When she won the gold at age 16, Oksana Baiul became the hometown hero of Ukraine. The Olympic games that followed Oksana's victory were among the most dramatic in history due to the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan incident.

The race for Baiul was made even tougher by the fact that Katarina Witt was still in it, but she still won. Baiul had only recently won the title of World Champion.

Oksana Baiul – Then.jpg?format=webp@Top 10 Best Female Figure Skaters of all time/I Luv Movies/YouTube.com

Oksana Baiul Now

As she battled alcohol throughout the 1990s, Oksana discovered that life would still be difficult even with an Olympic gold medal around her neck. Oksana persevered in her skating despite her problems, became professional when she started traveling with the production Cold as Ice.

Over the years, Baiul has also been in a number of television programs, such as the skating-themed Master of Champions and The Apprentice's thirteenth season. She appears in the movie SONJA - Queen of Ice this year.

Oksana Baiul Now.jpg?format=webp@Baron_Enick/reddit.com

Rudy Galindo Then

When Kristi Yamaguchi and Rudy Galindo won the gold medal at the 1988 World Junior Championships, Rudy Galindo gained fame as an ice dancer. In 1989 and 1990, they successfully defended their championship in the U.S. National Championships, but by 1990, they were both prepared to pursue separate professions.
Galindo proved he didn't require a partner when he won gold in the 1996 U.S. Championships in a performance with eight triple leaps, becoming just as accomplished as his previous companion, Yamaguchi.

Rudy Galindo – Then.jpg?format=webp@Rudy Galindo - 1996 U.S. Figure Skating Championships - Long Program/GoldenAgeofFS/YouTube.com

Rudy Galindo Now

Surprisingly, Galindo did not participate in any Olympic competitions throughout his remarkable skating career. He nonetheless distinguished himself by becoming the first openly gay and Latino U.S. Champion.

Galindo transitioned into professional skating shows after his stint in competition, touring with shows like Champions on Ice. In 2000, he gained new notoriety when he disclosed that he had HIV. He is now mentoring young skaters at the rink in San Jose, California, where he grew up.

Rudy Galindo – Now.jpg?format=webp@Happy 25th Anniversary Rudy Galindo/Sharks Ice/YouTube.com

Surya Bonaly Then

Figure skater Surya Bonaly, a member of the French Olympic squad in 1998, is probably best known for performing an amazing but prohibited backflip as part of her routine.

Bonaly was motivated to carry out the risky action because she believed the judging panel would be biased against her due to her skin color—made much riskier by the fact that she landed the jump on just one blade. Since then, no other skaters have tried the perilous maneuver. Despite not having any Olympic medals, she won the French Championship nine times.

Surya Bonaly – Then.jpg?format=webp@[HD] Surya Bonaly - 1998 Nagano Olympics - FS - "The Four Seasons"/Mintaka Alnilam/YouTube.com

Surya Bonaly Now

Following her retirement from professional skating, Bonaly departed France and later settled in the United States. She now resides in snowy Minnesota, where she is passing along her decades of experience to the next group of figure skaters.

If they are interested in competitive figure skating, I hope she isn't spending too much time training them backflips. Bonaly is also an activist who has participated in a number of PETA initiatives where she has pushed for better treatment of animals.

Surya Bonaly – Now.jpg?format=webp@Willing to change the rules for a brighter future | Surya Bonaly | TEDxTorino/TEDx Talks/YouTube.com

Nicole Bobek Then

Nicole Bobek never had a chance to be an Olympic front-runner, but she was still adamant about competing. Before she made it to the Olympics, she had to go through an incredible eight coaches.
The only person to lavish praise on her was Scott Hamilton, who said, "She lights up the building like nobody else." By 1998, Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski, the top two skaters that year, were expected to be on par with Bobek. But Bobek would only have to deal with herself.

Nicole Bobek – Then.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Nicole Bobek Now

Even though Bobek's Olympic performance was a failure, she was still about to suffer further humiliation when she was caught peddling illegal drugs. Nevertheless, Nicole Bobek was given a chance to prove herself, and she has more than met the test.

She transitioned from figure skating to being a circus performer after she retired, and Nancy Kerrigan, a former Olympian, organized an ice performance where she showcased her act. Bobek has also been married to another ice skater.

Nicole Bobek – Now.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Elvis Stojko Then

As the Ice King of Rock n' Roll, Elvis Stojko took the title of his namesake seriously. He distinguished himself by landing a quadruple-triple jump combo as the first skater ever. He was more than just a gifted technical skater.

With choreography to match, Stojko always wore clothes that screamed heavy metal because he understood the art of presentation better than most. Stojko previously remarked, "I was made fun of. I was advised to embrace my feminine side. 'Buddy, I don't have a feminine side,' I said.

Elvis Stojko – Then.jpg?format=webp@[HD] Elvis Stojko - 1998 Nagano Olympics – FS/Mintaka Alnilam/YouTube.com

Elvis Stojko Now

Stojko typically performs on the ice more than 70 times per year, despite his advanced age. He frequently appears skating next to his wife. Stojko found himself spreading out into other extreme sports like go-karting and kung-fu because he couldn't be satisfied with mastering just one art.

Additionally, Stojko had the chance to showcase his abilities on stage by playing Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago. In Stars on Ice's Canadian segment, Stojko will perform.

Elvis Stojko Now.jpg?format=webp@Elvis Stojko has all the details about what to watch this weekend at #SCI22 🇨🇦⛸ | CBC Sports/CBC Sports/YouTube.com

Brian Orser Then

The other half of the heated rivalry known as the "Battle of the Brians," in which Brian Boitano ultimately triumphed, was former world champion Brian Orser.

Despite his victory in 1987, Orser was still defeated for the gold in 1984 by Scott Hamilton and then again in 1988 by Brian Boitano. As a result, Orser was named World Champion. In both of those Olympic events, Orser won silver.

Brian Orser Then.jpg?format=webp@kallierna/reddit.com

Brian Orser Now

Even though he wouldn't be the one competing for medals, Orser didn't have to lay his Olympic aspirations to rest totally. Orser had a successful professional career that spanned from his time as a competitive skater to his introduction as a figure skating coach, touring with numerous on-ice shows.

The thrilling result of Orser's shift of emphasis came when he guided Japanese athlete Yuzuru Hanyu to victory at the Sochi Olympics. Orser, who came out as gay in 1998, manages his nonprofit with his boyfriend Rajesh Tiwari.

Brian Orser – Now.jpg?format=webp@Brian ORSER - Coach | Ostrava 2022 | #JGPFigure/ISU Junior Grand Prix/YouTube.com

Johnny Weir Then

Given that he won gold at the World Junior Championships in 2001, just six years after he started skating, Johnny Weir's skill on the rink was evident from a young age. From 2004 through 2006, Weir won the title of U.S. figure skating champion three times in a row.

Weir, the only American figure skater to win a medal that year, was able to prevail at the 2008 World Championships after competing in two different Olympic games.

Johnny Weir – Then.jpg?format=webp@Johnny Weir - Poker Face/Boris Sbarufatti/YouTube.com

Johnny Weir Now

After deciding to call it quits on his professional figure skating career in 2013, Weir joined Tara Lipinksi as a commentator for the sport. The on-screen chemistry between the real-life best friends has garnered attention, and it has allowed them to commentate for high-profile events like the Oscars red carpet.

Weir came out in 2011, but regrettably, his marriage ended three years ago. Weir has only had negative things to say about the movie I, Tonya since it was released last winter.

Johnny Weir – Now.jpg?format=webp@Johnny Weir - All Dancing with the Stars Performances/My Dear Journal/YouTube.com

Kitty & Peter Carruthers Then

In the hall of fame of outstanding American skating pairs, Kitty and Peter Carruthers continue to maintain a special place. In one of the strongest international rivalries ever, they defeated their Soviet adversaries in 1984. Despite Kitty's tendinitis throughout the competition, the Massachusetts-born and bred Carruthers siblings won the silver medal that year. The two siblings' pride at their achievement was palpable as they exchanged long, passionate hugs for the duration of the standing ovation.

Kitty & Peter Carruthers – Then.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Kitty & Peter Carruthers Now

In order to pursue a career as a skating analyst, Peter Carruthers gave up competitive skating. Kitty decided against pursuing a career in show business and has instead established herself as a coach based in Houston, Texas. The pair occasionally enjoys appearing in special skating events, such as a televised special in 2013, even though they no longer skate regularly. Kitty said, "We were foolish enough to skate, and we had a fun. "We realized we still had a little something," Peter said.

Kitty & Peter Carruthers – Now.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Tara Lipinski Then

She was only 15 years old when Tara Lipinski made her debut at the 1998 Winter Olympics. Her exceptional athleticism propelled her to the top of the pack, where she faced off against Michelle Kwan, the gold medal favorite, and won.

Lipinski, a native of Philadelphia, made history by winning the gold medal as the youngest figure skater ever. She also won gold at the Olympics at the youngest age ever. Between 1997 and 1998 alone, Lipinski won numerous further gold medals, including the title of World Champion.

Tara Lipinski – Then.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Tara Lipinski Now

Lipinski's gold medal appeared to be sufficient for the young skater despite her considerable skill on the ice, and she soon quit the competition in favor of competing in performances for a living. She participated on the Stars on Ice and Champions on Ice tours.

Lipinski and Johnny Weir were asked to commentate on figure skating beginning with the Sochi Olympics in 2014. The two continued to secure on-air appearances together because of how well they worked together. For Hulu, Lipinski has been creating a drama about figure skating since 2016.

Tara Lipinski – Now.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Nancy Kerrigan Then

Even more than 20 years after she won the silver, Nancy Kerrigan is still one of the most talked-about skaters of all time. The horrific attack she endured—which was carried out by fellow skater Tonya Harding's ex-husband—made her triumph all the more memorable.

Despite participating in the 1992 Olympics, Kerrigan's performance in 1994 at Lillehammer after suffering an injury astonished the judges and gave her a second-place finish.

Nancy Kerrigan – Then.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Nancy Kerrigan Now

Despite the dramatic event that launched her skating career, Kerrigan has led a far less exciting life since then. Kerrigan has made cameo appearances in movies like Blades of Glory, so she hasn't completely stayed away from the spotlight.

She competed in Season 24 of Dancing With the Stars as another Olympic participant. With the publication of her documentary, Why Not Lose 5 Pounds?, Kerrigan just transitioned into the role of producer. Kerrigan covered the Super Bowl in 2018 as well.

Nancy Kerrigan – Now.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Midori Ito Then

The first Japanese figure skater to achieve international recognition is Midori Ito. Being the first female skater to successfully complete every form of triple jump in a single competition is only one of her many career-defining achievements.

Ito won her first gold when she was named the World Champion in 1989, but she was in for a bigger prize when she became the first Japanese female skater to win an Olympic medal.

Midori Ito – Then.jpg?format=webp@Top 10 Best Female Figure Skaters of all time/I Luv Movies/YouTube.com

Midori Ito Now

After winning the silver medal in 1992, Ito retired from competition, but she couldn't seem to get over her passion for figure skating. Six years after receiving her gold, she was honored by serving as the torchbearer for the Winter Olympics hosted in her home country of Japan in 1998.

Ito started registering for the ISU Adult Figure Skating Competition in 2011 because she was dying to participate once more. Therefore, it shouldn't be shocking that she was able to win two additional silver medals.

Midori Ito Now.jpg?format=webp@Midori ITO. Oberstdorf 2019. Masters Elite Ladies III FS. 1st place/fs perm/YouTube.com

Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner Then

At a relatively young age, Tai Babilonia and her skating partner Randy Gardner discovered their on-ice chemistry, which may also have been the key to their success. In 1979, they skated to the top of the podium and were the first American champions in almost 20 years. But before the 1980 Winter Olympics, the couple experienced a serious setback that forced them to abandon the race. Gardner was forced to withdraw from the tournament after suffering a debilitating groin injury.

Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner – Then.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner Now

Despite not being able to win it all in 1980, the two have remained close throughout the years. The 50th anniversary of their artistic cooperation at the Ice Theatre of New York is one of their most recent significant anniversaries. Both of them haven't completely given up skating, as Babilonia occasionally instructs younger skaters. In addition to writing and starring in a performance called Go Figure: The Randy Gardner Story, Gardner has been employed as a choreographer.

Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner – Now.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Philippe Candeloro Then

Even if the moment was the result of an error he made on the ice, Phillippe Candeloro created history while competing for France. He slipped during a spin during one of his routines, but rather than being seen as an error, it appeared as though he had planned the spin.

But it was at that point that Candeloro developed his hallmark technique. Despite the incident, Candeloro was able to win two bronze medals at the Olympics, one in 1994 and one in 1998.

Philippe Candeloro – Then.jpg?format=webp@[HD] Philippe Candeloro - The Godfather - 1994 Lillehammer Olympic - Free Skating フィリップ・キャンデロロ/Mintaka Alnilam/YouTube.com

Philippe Candeloro Now

Despite having given up skating, Candeloro still had a successful career in front of him. Philippe transitioned from figure skating to broadcasting news and sports. However, during one show, Candeloror came under fire for a remark he made during a live performance by a figure skater. Candeloro compared Shizuka Arakawa, a Japanese figure skater, to "a bowl of rice" during her performance, which unsurprisingly sparked a lot of backlash before Philippe apologized.

Philippe Candeloro Now.jpg?format=webp@The_Original_JLaw/reddit.com

Debi Thomas Then

Debi Thomas made history as a figure skater because, in addition to her skill on the rink, she was the first African-American woman to win an Olympic medal. Despite being a strong favorite at several World Championships, Thomas was able to win the bronze medal for her routine at the Calgary Games in 1988. "Battle of the Carmens" rivalry between Katarina Witt, a member of the East German figure skating team, and Debi Thomas.

Debi Thomas – Then.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com

Debi Thomas Now

Another skater with excellent intelligence in addition to her well-known skating abilities was Debi Thomas. Even though she was in the middle of her Olympic training, she enrolled in Stanford University. She only retired from skating when she was 21. Thomas transferred from Stanford to medical school where she pursued her goal of becoming an orthopedic physician. Despite her successes, Thomas' career as a doctor struggled. After opening a private practice, she declared bankruptcy and let her license to lapse after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Debi Thomas – Now.jpg?format=webp@Former U.S. Olympic Figure Skaters That Look Very Different Now/ The List/YouTube.com