Geographic Connection to Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
Tara Lipinski won the women?s figure skating gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
Tara Kristen Lipinski was born on June 10, 1982, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She began ice skating at the age of six and began taking lessons soon after. Upon moving to Texas and finding less than adequate skating facilities, Lipinski and her mother moved back to the east coast to begin regular training once more. After starting work with a new coach, Richard Callaghan, Lipinski’s career began to blossom. After becoming the first woman to ever land a triple loop/triple loop combination in a competition, Lipinski went on to become the youngest World Championship skater and the youngest gold medalist in Winter Olympic history.
Tara Kristen Lipinski was born June 10, 1982, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Jack and Pat Lipinski. The family resided in Sewell, New Jersey, a suburb of Philadelphia. In 1989, Lipinski began taking ice skating lessons at the University of Delaware with coach Scott Gregory. Two years later, in 1991, Lipinski’s father received a promotion, and the family relocated to Sugar Land, Texas. However, Lipinski and her mother moved to Delaware in 1993 due to the lack of skating training facilities available in Texas. In Delaware, she began training for skating once again, this time with coach Jeff DiGregorio. She later moved to Bloomfield, Michigan, to train with long-time coach Richard Callaghan.
Tara Lipinski began her figure skating career in a unique way, through roller-skating. As a roller-skating champion, Lipinski transitioned into figure skating at the age of six, where she was also extremely successful. In 1994, Lipinski’s hard work paid off, and she won the U.S. Olympic Festival Competition. Though it was only a junior event, it offered the promise of more to come for her future. By 1995, Lipinski gained the attention of the public by her successful fourth and second place finishes at World Junior Figure Skating Competitions and the junior level of the United Figure Skating Championships, respectively.
After a disappointing sixth place finish World Junior Championships in 1996, Lipinski changed coaches and hometowns to train with Richard Callaghan in Detroit, Michigan. With Callaghan as her coach, Lipinski experienced astonishing wins, including the U.S. Championship and World Championship at age 14, the youngest winner for either title. Completing her signature element, the triple loop/triple loop jump combination, Lipinski became the first woman to do so. In 1997, the U.S. Olympic Committee named Lipinski Female Athlete of the Year. Once again in 1998, Lipinski triumphed despite a lackluster start to the season. At the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, Lipinski won the gold medal over Michelle Kwan, the favorite to win, propelling her to international fame. As her agent, Mike Burns, stated to the New York Times, ‘‘I think she’s one of the more marketable female athletes in the world right now. You got to see her at the Olympics. I wasn’t around, her parents weren’t around. You saw Tara.”
Later that year, on March 9, 1998, Lipinski announced that she would be retiring from competitive skating to enter the realm of professional ice-skating. After announcing the decision to become a professional skater, Lipinski was criticized for not informing the United States Figure Skating Association before withdrawing from the World Championships. However, after her competitive retirement, Lipinski spent two seasons touring with Stars on Ice while taking time to write an autobiography. In addition, Lipinski has showed an interest in acting. She has previously made small appearances on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Still Standing, Scooby Doo, 7th Heaven, Still Standing,The Young and the Restless, and an appearance that was cut from the Tom Cruise movie Vanilla Sky. She also starred in the television movies The Metro Chase and Ice Angel. She continues to skate and act professionally out of her Los Angeles home. She is also currently a Universal Sports sports commentator for figure skating.
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Longman, Jere. “THE XVIII WINTER GAMES: FIGURE SKATING; An Encore for Lipinski Hasn’t Been Chiseled in Ice.” New York Times. 22 Feb. 1998: 404.
Rutledge, Rachel. Women of Sports. The Best of the Best in Figure Skating. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook P, 1998. 38- 43. 28 Sept. 2007.