SUNDAY, JAN 10, 2010
At just 15-years of age, Tara Lipinski won her first national medal, a bronze at the 1996 United States Figure Skating Associate National Championships. The very next year, she won gold at nationals, beating out the favorite Michelle Kwan. In 1997, she did it again at the World Championships, becoming the youngest women’s World Champion in history to win gold.
An historic rivalry was formed between US skaters Lipinski and Kwan. Leading into the 1998 winter Olympic Games, Kwan was favored, having reclaimed the 1998 USA National title. But Lipinski skated a prefect long-program in Nagano, Japan. Her routine featured a technical program with the highest level of difficult ever executed by a female skater, propelling her to the Gold and upset over Kwan.