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Ever wondered who wears the crown on the glittering ice?

From gravity-defying jumps to breathtaking artistry, these 15 icons glide into figure skating history.

Are you ready to twirl through the tales of ice’s elite warriors?

Best Figure Skaters:

  1. Sonja Henie
  2. Dick Button
  3. Peggy Fleming
  4. Katarina Witt
  5. Yuzuru Hanyu
  6. Evgeni Plushenko
  7. Michelle Kwan
  8. Scott Hamilton
  9. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (Ice Dance)
  10. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean (Ice Dance)
  11. Alina Zagitova
  12. Tara Lipinski
  13. Kristi Yamaguchi
  14. Brian Boitano
  15. Dorothy Hamill

#1 Sonja Henie

  • 🌍 Nationality: Norwegian
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: April 8, 1912
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles Figure Skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 3Γ— Olympic champion (1928, 1932, 1936), 10Γ— World Champion (1927–1936)

Known as the “Pavlova of the Ice,” Sonja Henie leaped beyond anyone’s expectations, bringing balletic grace to the rink. Her precision and artistic approach redefined women’s figure skating. Despite living in a time when female athletes faced many societal hurdles, she became a global sensation.

She later parlayed her success on the ice into a Hollywood career, becoming one of the wealthiest and most famous female athletes of her time. Her on and off rink pursuits opened doors for female athletes in both sports and entertainment, with her influence evident in the showmanship seen in modern figure skating.

#2 Dick Button

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: July 18, 1929
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles Figure Skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 2Γ— Olympic champion (1948, 1952), 5Γ— World Champion (1948–1952), 7Γ— U.S. National Champion (1946–1952)

Pioneering athlete Dick Button is known for his athletic innovation, including being the first skater to land a double axel and a triple loop. His personal flair melded performance with impressive athletic feats, establishing a new standard in men’s figure skating.

After retiring from competition, Button remained an influential figure in the sport as a television commentator, often providing critical and insightful analysis that resonated with audiences. His commentary educated generations of viewers on the nuances of figure skating, contributing significantly to its popularity and understanding.

#3 Peggy Fleming

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: July 27, 1948
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles Figure Skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Olympic champion (1968), 3Γ— World Champion (1966–1968), 5Γ— U.S. National Champion (1964–1968)

Peggy Fleming is celebrated for her elegant style and lyrical movements on the ice, which helped revitalize American figure skating after the entire U.S. team perished in a tragic plane crash in 1961. Her seamless performances gave her a folk heroine status.

Her victory at the 1968 Olympics marked a turning point for U.S. figure skating, with her grace and poise becoming a gold standard. Post-competition, Fleming’s contributions to the sport continued through broadcasting, and she became a symbol of strength and resilience following her public battle with breast cancer.

#4 Katarina Witt

  • 🌍 Nationality: East German/German
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: December 3, 1965
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles Figure Skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 2Γ— Olympic champion (1984, 1988), 4Γ— World Champion (1984–1985, 1987–1988), 6Γ— European Champion (1983–1988)

Katarina Witt, known as “Kati” to her fans, captivated the world with her charisma and captivating free skates. Her fierce competitive spirit and expressive performances made her one of figure skating’s most memorable champions from the Cold War era.

Her impact on the sport continued through her role in the world’s sporting and cultural conversations, particularly representing East Germany during a politically charged era. Her post-skating career included numerous television and film appearances, and her involvement in social charity work remains an essential part of her legacy.

#5 Yuzuru Hanyu

  • 🌍 Nationality: Japanese
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: December 7, 1994
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles Figure Skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 2Γ— Olympic champion (2014, 2018), 2Γ— World Champion (2014, 2017), 4Γ— Grand Prix Final Champion (2013–2016)

Yuzuru Hanyu, affectionately known by fans as “Yuzu,” combines technical prowess with artistic expression in a way that has redefined men’s figure skating. Notably, he became the first male skater to achieve a “Super Slam,” winning all major titles in competitive figure skating.

He is an icon in Japan and among skating enthusiasts globally, with his resilience through figure skating injuries and natural disasters only adding to his legendary status. Hanyu’s extensive charity work and approachable personality, coupled with his on-ice achievements, have made him a beloved figure well beyond the confines of the skating world.

#6 Evgeni Plushenko

  • 🌍 Nationality: Russian
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: November 3, 1982
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles Figure Skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Olympic gold medalist (2006), 2Γ— Olympic silver medalist (2002, 2010), 3Γ— World Champion (2001, 2003, 2004), 7Γ— European Champion (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005–2006, 2010, 2012)

Evgeni Plushenko, known for his innovative and athletic jumping abilities, was a dominant force in men’s figure skating for over a decade. His competitive record is studded with Olympic and World medals, emphasizing his status as one of the sport’s greats.

Plushenko’s rivalry with fellow skaters and his vibrant on-ice persona kept him in the media spotlight, often polarizing public opinion. His later years in the sport have been marred by injuries, yet his contributions have had a lasting impact on the technical aspirations of skaters worldwide.

#7 Michelle Kwan

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: July 7, 1980
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles Figure Skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 5Γ— World Champion (1996, 1998, 2000–2001, 2003), 9Γ— U.S. National Champion (1996, 1998–2005), Olympic silver medalist (1998), Olympic bronze medalist (2002)

Michelle Kwan is revered within the figure skating community for her artistry, consistency, and emotional depth, making her one of the most decorated figure skaters in U.S. history. Her gracefulness on the ice was juxtaposed by her fierce competitive drive.

Beyond the rink, Kwan has been active in diplomacy and advocacy, representing American values and interests as a public diplomacy ambassador. Her impact extends into fields of education and community service, where she continues to inspire future generations with her commitment to excellence and service.

#8 Scott Hamilton

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: August 28, 1958
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles Figure Skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Olympic champion (1984), 4Γ— World Champion (1981–1984), 4Γ— U.S. National Champion (1981–1984)

Celebrated for his innovation and backflip signature move, Scott Hamilton captivated audiences with not only athletic prowess but also with his vivacious personality. A survivor of both a childhood illness and later cancer, his courage has been as much a hallmark as his competitive successes.

After retiring from competition, Hamilton continued to influence the world of figure skating through his commentary and his founding of the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation to support cancer research. His life story is one of overcoming adversity and his legacy centers on inspiring hope and championing the human spirit.

#9 Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir

  • 🌍 Nationality: Canadian
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: May 17, 1989 (Tessa Virtue), September 2, 1987 (Scott Moir)
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Ice Dancers
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: 3Γ— Olympic champions (2010, 2018), 2Γ— Olympic silver medalists (2014), 3Γ— World champions (2010, 2012, 2017), 8Γ— Canadian national champions (2008–2010, 2012–2014, 2017, 2018)

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are iconic in the world of ice dancing, known for their mesmerizing chemistry and storytelling on ice. Their intricate footwork, deep edges, and matched precision have set them apart in the discipline. Across their storied career, they’ve pushed the technical and artistic boundaries of ice dancing, creating memorable routines that resonate with audiences.

Off the ice, their partnership reflects a deep friendship and mutual respect, which has endeared them to fans worldwide. Besides their athletic accomplishments, both have engaged in philanthropic endeavors and inspired a generation of ice dancers. Virtue and Moir have also made an impact with their television appearances and work with charity organizations.

#10 Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean

  • 🌍 Nationality: British
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: October 7, 1957 (Jayne Torvill), July 27, 1958 (Christopher Dean)
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Ice Dancers
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Olympic champions (1984), 4Γ— World champions (1981–1984), 4Γ— European champions (1981–1984), World Professional champions (1984, 1990, 1995)

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean transformed ice dance with their innovative and expressive routines. Their performance to Ravel’s BolΓ©ro at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics is legendary, earning them perfect scores for artistic impression. They brought a fresh narrative and theatricality to the sport, captivating audiences and judges alike.

Beyond competition, they’ve become household names in the UK, contributing to the sport as choreographers and coaches. Their participation in the reality TV show “Dancing on Ice” has also helped to popularize figure skating. They’ve used their status to support various charitable causes and have continued to mentor young skaters.

#11 Alina Zagitova

  • 🌍 Nationality: Russian
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: May 18, 2002
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Olympic champion (2018), World champion (2019), European champion (2018), Grand Prix Final champion (2017, 2018)

Alina Zagitova is known for her technical precision, grace, and artistry on the ice. She astounded the figure skating world with her ability to execute complex jumps and combinations, particularly her trademark triple Lutz–triple loop combination. Winning Olympic gold at just 15, she became one of the youngest figure skating champions in history.

Her career has also been marked by intense rivalry and the ever-present pressure to perform, which she has navigated with remarkable poise. Zagitova’s rise to prominence has inspired younger skaters in Russia and around the world. Off the ice, she has appeared on television shows and has been involved in various endeavors, promoting figure skating to a wider audience.

#12 Tara Lipinski

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: June 10, 1982
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Olympic champion (1998), World champion (1997), Two-time Grand Prix Final champion (1997, 1998), U.S. national champion (1997)

Tara Lipinski is celebrated for her exuberant personality and record-breaking performances. At age 15, she became the youngest skater to win an Olympic gold medal in individual ladies’ singles. Her athletic competitive routines were characterized by their technical difficulty and her signature triple loop–triple loop combination.

Following her competitive career, Lipinski successfully transitioned into commentating, where she pairs with fellow Olympian Johnny Weir to provide insightful and colorful analysis. Her work in broadcasting, coupled with involvement in charitable organizations, showcases her continued passion for the sport and desire to give back to the community.

#13 Kristi Yamaguchi

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: July 12, 1971
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Olympic champion (1992), World champion (1991, 1992), U.S. national champion (1992)

Kristi Yamaguchi is recognized for her elegance and consistency across her competitive routines. With a strong artistic flair and powerful jumps, she dominated the early 1990s women’s figure skating scene. Her winning the 1992 Olympic gold medal showcased her technical prowess and expressive performances.

Besides her skating career, Yamaguchi has made a significant mark with her Always Dream Foundation, aimed at inspiring underserved children. Her work as an author and her participation in other media, including winning “Dancing with the Stars,” demonstrate the breadth of her influence beyond figure skating.

#14 Brian Boitano

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: October 22, 1963
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Olympic champion (1988), World champion (1986, 1988), U.S. national champion (1985–1988)

Brian Boitano is famous for his technical skill, particularly the “Boitano jump,” or ‘Tano triple Lutz, where he raised his left arm above his head as he jumped. His fierce competitive spirit and innovations in jump combinations established him as a strong force in men’s figure skating, highlighted by his Olympic victory in the “Battle of the Brians.”

After his competitive career, Boitano turned to professional skating shows, TV specials, and culinary pursuits, showcasing his versatility. He also became a role model and advocate for the LGBTQ community. Boitano’s influence extends into his philanthropic efforts, particularly through the “Youth Skate” program he founded, which introduces San Francisco’s inner-city youth to ice skating.

#15 Dorothy Hamill

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • πŸŽ‚ Date of Birth: July 26, 1956
  • ⛸️ Position/Role: Singles skater
  • πŸ† Career Highlights: Olympic Champion (1976), World champion (1976), U.S. national champion (1974–1976)

Dorothy Hamill is best remembered for her infectious smile and the “Hamill camel,” her signature spin that led to a hairstyle craze in the 1970s. Her Olympic win cemented her as America’s sweetheart, and she was known for her grace and fluid skating style. Her influence in the sport continued with her popular tours and ice shows that attracted new generations of fans.

Away from the rink, Hamill battled through personal challenges, including depression, and has been open about her struggles, which has been a source of inspiration for many. Her autobiography and motivational speaking engagements show her commitment to helping others while continuing to advocate for mental health awareness.

Love figure skating? How well do you know about it? Take our figure skating quiz!

FAQ

Who is the best Figure Skating player of all time?

Yuzuru Hanyu is the best Figure Skating player of all time. Here’s a link to our article on why we think Yuzuru Hanyu is the best figure skater of all time. His unmatched technical skills and artistry have raised the bar in men’s figure skating.

Who are the top 10 greatest Figure Skating players of all time?

Sonja Henie, Dick Button, Peggy Fleming, Katarina Witt, Yuzuru Hanyu, Evgeni Plushenko, Michelle Kwan, Scott Hamilton, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean are the top 10 greatest Figure Skating players of all time. Each has made significant contributions and achieved remarkable success in the sport.

Who is the most famous female Figure Skating player?

Michelle Kwan is the most famous female Figure Skating player. Her grace, consistency, competitive success, and longevity have made her a beloved icon in the figure skating world.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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