After a successful test, NASA plans to use a nuclear reactor that will provide power for humans who end up colonizing Mars, the moon, and beyond.
This is a large step in Earth’s plans to find new homes in space where humans can be self-sufficient and have all the essentials to survive, such as rocket fuel, water, and breathable air.
The next stage is to test the “Kilopower” system in space. “When we go to the moon, and eventually on to Mars, we are likely going to need large power sources and not rely on the sun,” NASA’s acting associate administrator Jim Reuters said.
“Safe, efficient and plentiful energy will be the key to future robotic and human exploration. I expect the Kilopower project to be an essential part of lunar and Mars power architectures as they evolve.”
This nuclear reactor would also be a useful alternative to gas-based fuels, which are dangerous due to their flammable qualities. “Mars is a very difficult environment for power systems.” Steve Jurczyk said, who is the associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.
“So Kilopower’s compact size and robustness allows us to deliver multiple units on a single lander to the surface that provides tens of kilowatts of power.” Through the NNSA (also known as the National Nuclear Security Administration), NASA is ensuring that the Kiopower is safe, performing numerous feasibility experiments.
Don’t let the word KRUSTY fool you, this is a serious system, known formally as the Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology. The most recent test was performed at the end of 2017 in Nevada.
NASA took the prototype version of the reactor and put it in a 28-hour vacuum-chamber test. After the various stages of the procedure, the scientists deemed the experiment successful.
“We threw everything we could at this reactor, in terms of nominal and off-normal operating scenarios, and KRUSTY passed with flying colors,” NNSA’s Los Alamos National Laboratory’s chief reactor designer David Poston said.
What Have These Acclaimed Figure Skaters Been Doing Lately?
Peggy Fleming made her standout skating performance at the Grenoble Winter Olympics in 1968. Her performance was notable for being the only gold medal that the United States won during the games that year.
Peggy Fleming – Now
Fleming may have reached the 50th anniversary of her gold medal in France, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been racking up other accomplishments in the meantime. She had two sons with her husband Greg, whom she named Andy and Todd. Fleming is also a breast cancer survivor, having conquered the disease in the 1990s. After retiring from skating, she and Greg bought a vineyard and were producing 2,000 cases of wine every year at their peak. They’ve recently decided to retire completely.
When Katarina Witt made her first Olympics debut, she was skating for the East German Team. Katarina turned heads when she won consecutive gold in both 1984 in Sarajevo and 1988 in Calgary, becoming the first solo female skater to do so since the 1936 games.
Katarina Witt – Now
After the reunification of East and West Germany, Katarina finally had the ability to branch out from figure skating. After she retired from the ice, Witt had the chance to pose in Playboy. She was not content with only one profession, and added author to her resume in 2005, with her memoir Only With Passion. Witt had a film created about her life in 2013 that focused on how the reunification changed everything, and she was involved in Munich’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Dorothy Hamill holds a special Olympic record from the 1976 games, which hasn’t yet been broken. She took home the gold for ladies singles at the Innsbruck Winter Games, in addition to a win at the World Championships that same year. What made Hamill’s win so unique is that she was the last female to take gold without performing some sort of triple jump. Additionally, she introduced the Hamill camel, which begins in a camel spin before transitioning to a sit spin.
Dorothy Hamill – Now
Following her Olympic wins, Hamill was ready to turn pro, which is a common career transition Olympic skaters make. Hamill found work in the ice show, Broadway on Ice. She was later cast in Dancing with the Stars for its 16th season, which debuted in 2013. Hamill sadly didn’t make it very far, as she sustained an injury during the first couple of weeks. It wouldn’t be long before Hamill returned to the spotlight as she appeared in the play, Go Figure: The Randy Gardner Story.
Sarah Hughes made a splash at her first World Championship competition in Vancouver in 2001, and despite being one of the youngest skaters, she took home third place. The following year, she was ready to prove herself at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hughes wowed the judges with her program and took home the gold medal for ladies’ singles. Joining her on the podium for ladies’ singles were Irina Slutskaya with 2nd place and Michelle Kwan, who took the bronze.
Sarah Hughes – Now
Sarah had bigger plans to follow up her Olympic medal, as she began attending the prestigious Yale University shortly after her win. She earned a degree in American studies, but even with her studies, Hughes found it difficult to stay away from the ice. During her undergraduate career, she took a break to skate with Smuckers Stars on Ice. In 2005, Hughes was invited to be in the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Her academic career isn’t through yet, however, as she’s studying law at UPenn.
Johnny Weir’s talent on the ice was apparent from an early age, given that he earned gold in the World Junior Championships in 2001, only six years after he first began skating. Weir was the U.S. Figure Skating Champion three years in a row, winning from 2004 to 2006. With two separate Olympic games under his belt, Weir was able to triumph at the 2008 World Championships, where he was the only American figure skater to take home a medal that year.
Johnny Weir – Now
Weir was ready to retire from his professional figure skating career in 2013, after which time, he became a figure skating commentator alongside Tara Lipinksi. The real-life best friends have turned heads with their onscreen chemistry, which has allowed them to take on commentary for high profile events like the red carpet for the Oscars. Weir came out publicly in 2011 but sadly divorced his husband three years ago. With the release of I, Tonya last winter, Weir has only had criticisms about the film.
Debi Thomas was a groundbreaking figure skater, not just for her ability on the ice, but because she was the first African-American woman to earn a medal during the Winter Olympics. Thomas was able to earn the bronze medal for her routine in the Calgary games in 1988, despite being a clear front-runner at a number of World Championships. Debi Thomas’s main rival in figure skating with the East German team member, Katarina Witt, a rivalry dubbed “Battle of the Carmens”.
Debi Thomas – Now
Debi Thomas is another skater who also had an impressive intellect on top of her famed skating skills. She enrolled in Stanford University in the midst of Olympic training, though she retired from skating when she was only 21. Thomas moved from Stanford to med school, where she studied to be an orthopedic surgeon. Despite her accomplishments, Thomas’s standing as a doctor floundered. She filed for bankruptcy after beginning a private practice, and as let her license lapse after receiving a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
Sasha Cohen may have earned three medals at separate World Championship events, but was frustrated to have only earned a silver medal when she competed in the 2006 Olympic games in Turin, Italy. Cohen had only just missed the gold. She was determined to make the 2010 Olympic team, but fell short, leading to her retirement. She would say, “I missed that crystal-clear sense of purpose and direction. Once you leave the world of an elite athlete, that clarity is hard to find.”
Sasha Cohen – Now
Just because she was done with competitive skating doesn’t mean that Sasha was ready to leave the spotlight just yet. She spent some time touring with Stars on Ice, before transitioning to acting. Some of Cohens more notable roles include cameos on CSI: NY, in addition to appearing as herself in the film Blades of Glory, and being an Academy Awards correspondent. Cohen did her undergraduate degree at Columbia University where she studied political science. Unfortunately, she is in the midst of divorcing her husband.
Brian Boitano was one of the most watched skaters throughout the 1980s, during which time he took who two World Champion titles 1986 and again in 1988. That same year, he competed in the Olympic games in Calgary, where he managed to earn himself a gold medal for men’s singles. During the 1988 games, the most highly anticipated rivalry was between Boitano and Brian Orser, a contest for gold that was named “Battle of the Brians.” Boitano transitioned to professional skating but returned to the 1994 Olympics as an amateur.
Brian Boitano – Now
Boitano has had a varied career after he retired from professional skating. One of his most significant jobs was performing in the German film, Carmen on Ice, alongside several other well-known skaters, including Katarina Witt, and his rival, Brian Orser. Boitano wasn’t quite done with television yet, and landed himself a show on Food Network called What Would Brian Boitano Make? Though there had long been whispers about Boitano’s romantic preferences, he didn’t come out publicly until 2013.
Torvill and Dean
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean are one of the most accomplished ice dancing pairs in history. The skaters from the UK earned an incredible number of gold medals throughout the years, which includes 16 golds out of their total of 18 medals. Torvill and Dean as they’re most frequently referred to absolutely dominated the Winter Olympics in 1984, where they earned the highest score ever, an unprecedented twelve perfect scores. In the intervening 34 years, no other skaters have managed that feat.
Torvill and Dean – Now
By 1994, Torvill and Dean’s career was on the outs, and they only managed to earn a bronze medal for their routine in Lillehammer. Even so, they are still some of the most recognizable ice dancers in history. Like many others, they transitioned to Stars on Ice when they were finished with competitive skating. For the 30th anniversary of their perfect routine, the pair recreated the dance in Sarajevo. Despite their on-ice chemistry, they have never been romantic partners.
Oksana Baiul was the hometown heroine of Ukraine when she took home the gold at only 16 years old. Oksana’s win coincided with one of the most dramatic Olympic games in history, as it was racked with the controversy that sprung up between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. Moreover, Katarina Witt was still competing, making the competition for Baiul that much harder, but she triumphed all the same. Only the year before, Baiul had taken the title of World Champion.
Oksana Baiul – Now
Oksana’s found that even with an Olympic gold medal around her neck, life would still be an uphill battle, as she struggled with alcohol throughout the 1990s. Even with her demons, Oksana continued skating, becoming a professional when she began touring with the show Cold as Ice. Baiul also made several television appearances over the years, including Master of Champions, which focused on skating, as well as the 13th season of The Apprentice. This year, she can be seen in the film, SONJA – Queen of Ice.
Rudy Galindo made his name as the ice dancer who skated with Kristi Yamaguchi in the 1988 World Junior Championships, in which they took home the gold. They defended their title in 1989 and 1990 at the U.S. National Championships, but by 1990, both were ready to move on to careers of their own. Galindo became just as accomplished as his former partner, Yamaguchi, when he earned gold in the 1996 U.S. Championships on a program with eight triple jumps, proving that he didn’t need a partner to succeed.
Rudy Galindo – Now
Surprisingly, Galindo never ended up competing in the Olympics during his illustrious skating career. He still earned distinction for being the first Latino U.S. Champion, as well as the first openly gay Champion. Following his competitive career, Galindo made the move into professional skating shows, touring with productions like Champions on Ice. He made headlines once again in 2000 when he opened up about being HIV positive. Now, he is currently coaching young skaters at his hometown rink in San Jose, California.
Surya Bonaly, a figure skater who competed on the French Olympic team in 1998, is probably best remembered for her executing her incredible, but illegal backflip during her program. Bonaly was driven to perform the dangerous stunt–made even more dangerous because she landed the jump on only one blade–because she was worried the judging panel was biased against her for her skin color. No other skaters have attempted the risky move since. Despite her lack of Olympic medals, she was a nine-time French Champion.
Surya Bonaly – Now
Bonaly left France after she retired from competitive skating, and has since moved to the United States. She has made her home in snowy Minnesota, where she is imparting her years of wisdom on a new generation of figure skaters, though she hopefully isn’t spending too much time teaching them backflips if they’re interested in competitive figure skating. Bonaly is also an activist who has been a part of several campaigns for PETA, where she has advocated for the improved treatment of animals.
Nicole Bobek was never an Olympic front-runner, but she was still determined to have a chance at the competition. For her, that meant running through an astounding eight coaches before she made it to the Olympics. It was only Scott Hamilton who heaped on the praise, saying, “She lights up the building like nobody else.” By 1998, Bobek was expected to skate on the same level as Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski, the top two competitors that year. Bobek, however, would only have herself to contend with.
Nicole Bobek – Now
Bobek’s Olympic performance ended up being a disappointment, but further embarrassment was still to come when she was apprehended for selling illegal substances. Still, Nicole Bobek was given a shot at redemption and has more than risen to the challenge. After she retired from figure skating, she became a circus performer and has even performed her act during an ice show that was hosted by former Olympian, Nancy Kerrigan. Bobek has also tied the knot with a fellow figure skater.
Elvis Stojko took his namesake seriously as the Ice King of Rock n’ Roll. He earned distinction when he became the first skater ever to land a quadruple-triple jump combination. He wasn’t just a masterful technical skater. Stojko understood the art of performance better than many others, and he always brought out costumes that screamed heavy metal with choreography to match. Stojko once explained, “I was ridiculed. I was told to get in touch with my feminine side. I said, ‘Buddy, I don’t have a feminine side.'”
Elvis Stojko – Now
Stojko hasn’t let his age stop him from performing on the ice, which he tends do upwards of 70 times a year. Oftentimes, he can be seen skating alongside his wife. Stojko wouldn’t be content with mastering only one art, and he found himself branching out into other extreme sports like go-kart racing and kung-fu. Stojko also had the opportunity to take his talents to the stage, appearing in the musical, Chicago, where he played Billy Flynn. Stojko will skate in the Canadian of Stars on Ice.
Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner
Tai Babilonia and her skating partner, Randy Gardner found their on-ice chemistry at a particularly young age, but that also may have been the secret to their success. They skated to the top of the podium in 1979, becoming the first champions the United States had had for nearly twenty years. The pair suffered a major setback that took them out of the race entirely before the Winter Olympics in 1980, however. Gardner sustained a crippling groin injury that took them out of the competition.
Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner – Now
They may not have been able to win it all in 1980, but the pair have stayed close in the intervening years. One of their most recently milestones includes the 50th anniversary of their artistic partnership at the Ice Theatre of New York. Neither of them has left skating behind entirely, as Babilonia still coaches younger skaters here and there. Gardner has been working as a choreographer, in addition to creating and starring in a show called Go Figure: The Randy Gardner Story.
Phillippe Candeloro made history while skating for France, even though the moment happened to have been the result of a mistake he made on the ice. During one of his programs, he slipped during a spin, but rather than being recognized as a mistake, it looked like a spin he had planned. Because of that moment, however, Candeloro’s signature move was born. Despite the accident, Candeloro managed to earn two Olympic bronze medals, once in 1994 and again in 1998.
Philippe Candeloro – Now
Candeloro may have retired from skating, but he still had a high profile career ahead of him. From figure skating, Philippe moved into the position of newscaster and sports broadcaster. During one broadcast, however, Candeloror found himself under scrutiny for a comment he made during one figure skater’s live program. During a performance by Shizuka Arakawa, a Japanese figure skater, Candeloro equated her worth with “a bowl of rice” which unsurprisingly caused a lot of backlash, until Philippe apologized.
Former World Champion Brian Orser was the other half of the bitter rivalry that was affectionately known as the “Battle of the Brians,” in which he was ultimately bested by Brian Boitano. Orser was crowned World Champion when he took the gold at the competition in 1987, but despite his triumph in 1987, he was still bested for gold in 1984 by Scott Hamilton, and then again in 1988 by Brian Boitano. Orser took the silver in both of those Olympic competitions.
Brian Orser – Now
Orser didn’t have to put his Olympic dreams entirely to rest, even though he wouldn’t be the one actually skating for medals. Between his time as a competitive skater and his debut as a figure skating coach, Orser enjoyed a lengthy professional career touring with several on ice shows. Orser’s shift in focus had an exciting payoff when he coached Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan to victory at the Sochi Olympics. Orser is openly gay, after coming out in 1998, and his partner, Rajesh Tiwari runs his foundation.
Scott Hamilton is probably still best associated with his signature move: the on-ice backflip. Given that the flip was banned from competition before Hamilton was skating, he was never able to perform the jump in competition. Regardless, he racked up the wins with four World Champion titles. These titles were in addition to an impressive four U.S. Championship titles, which he won back to back between 1981 and 1984. That last year, Hamilton also added an Olympic gold to his arsenal.
Scott Hamilton – Now
Hamilton moved from his competitive career into a professional show career but took it one step further by becoming the founder of the immensely popular, Stars on Ice. In addition to his accomplished skating career, Hamilton publicly battled testicular cancer in the 1990s, though he’s been in remission since 1997. Always small in stature, Hamilton wouldn’t discover why until 2004, when he began to suffer brain tumors, which was the catalyst to establishing the CARES Initiative. Hamilton has also served as an ambassador the Winter Olympics this year.
David Pelletier and Jamie Salé
David Pelletier and Jamie Salé were a skating pair that had an incredible journey both on and off the ice during their heyday. The two took home the title at the World Championships in 2001, before earning an Olympic gold in Salt Lake City the following year. Their medal was not easily earned, however, as they somehow ended up embroiled in a judging scandal. Ultimately, the competition weighed in their favor, which led to their triumph.
David Pelletier and Jamie Salé – Now
After their Olympic win, the duo took up skating in the professional arena, leaving behind the world of competition. Not only that, but the pair realized they had romantic feelings for one another, getting engaged on Christmas in 2004. They tied the knot the following year, and Jamie gave birth to their son, Jesse Joe Pelletier. Their union wasn’t meant to last, however, and not even skating could save their marriage, They divorced legally, though they still choose to skate together.
Kitty and Peter Carruthers
Kitty and Peter Carruthers still hold a place in the pantheon of incredible American skating pairs. In 1984, they bested their Soviet rivals, in one of the fiercest international rivalries that ever existed. The Carruthers siblings, born and raised in Massachusetts took home the silver medal that year, even though Kitty was suffering from tendinitis during the competition. The accomplishment was overwhelming for the two siblings who hugged each other for a full minute during their standing ovation.
Kitty and Peter Carruthers – Now
Peter Carruthers left competitive skating in favor of becoming a skating analyst. Kitty wasn’t as inclined for an onscreen career, and instead has become a coach who operates out of Houston, Texas. Though they don’t skate with any regularity any longer, the pair often like to make sporadic appearances in special skating events, including a televised special in 2013. “We were silly enough to skate, and we had a blast,” Kitty explained. “We realized we still had a little something,” Peter concluded.
When Tara Lipinski burst onto the scene at the 1998 Winter Olympics, she was only 15 years old. Her sheer athleticism shot her to the top of the heap, where she took on and triumphed over the favorite for the gold, Michelle Kwan. Originally rom Philadelphia, Lipinski made history as the youngest figure skater to take home the gold. Moreover, she was the youngest Olympian in history to place gold. Lipinski had several other gold medals just between 1997 and 1998 alone, including a World Champion title.
Tara Lipinski – Now
Despite her obvious prowess on the ice, Lipinski’s gold medal seemed to be enough for the young skater, who soon left the competition in favor of skating in professional shows. She joined tours of both Stars on Ice as well as Champions on Ice. Beginning with the Sochi Olympics in 2014, Lipinski was invited to be a commentator on figure skating along with Johnny Weir. The pair shined in their collaboration, and continued booking on-air gigs together. Since 2016, Lipinski has been developing a figure skating drama for Hulu.
There are not many Olympians who can say that they’ve had the opportunity to compete for more than one team. Viktor Petrenko, however, is one of those few. When he began competing, he did so under the flag of the Soviet Union, which would soon dissolve. When Petrenko returned to the Olympics, he was competing on the Ukrainian team, as it was the country of his birth. Petrenko’s greatest achievement, however, was on the 1992 Unified team, which saw him take gold for men’s singles.
Viktor Petrenko – Now
Just because Petrenko decided to retire as a competitive skater doesn’t mean he’s left the ice behind. Petrenko has become a coach for some of the most talented young figure skaters, both from his home country and from abroad. Only two years after he won gold, he helped lead Oksana Baiul to her title as well. Petrenko was also the coach that lead American skater, Johnny Weir to his three championships. More recently, he’s coach Natalia Popova of Ukraine, and Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic.
Nancy Kerrigan is still one of the most talked about skaters of all time, even over 20 years after she took the silver. Her victory was ever more memorable because of the horrible attack she suffered, which was perpetrated by fellow skater, Tonya Harding’s, ex-husband. Though Kerrigan competed in the 1992 Olympics, it was her performance in 1994 at Lillehammer following her injury that stunned the judges, and earned her second place. So what has Nancy been doing since then?
Nancy Kerrigan – Now
Despite the dramatic moment that defined her skating career, Kerrigan has lived a much more mundane life in the intervening years. Kerrigan has not fully shied away from the spotlight, however, as she’s made cameos in films like Blades of Glory. She was another Olympic contestant for Dancing With the Stars, in which she danced for Season 24. Recently Kerrigan has moved into the role of producer with the release of her documentary, Why Not Lose 5 Pounds? 2018 also saw Kerrigan as a Super Bowl correspondent.
Janet Lynn turned heads when she took home the bronze medal at the Sapporo Winter Olympics in 1972. Her Olympic performance followed up on her third-place finish for the World Championships, which had been held in Calgary the year before. Janet’s career was impressive, with as she was the five-time U.S. national champion. In 1973, Janet came in second place front of the rest of the world when she competed in the World Champions that were held in Bratislava.
Janet Lynn – Now
When she tired of competitive skating, Janet moved into the realm of the professional, earning an enormous paycheck of $1,455,000 for her involvement with the show, Ice Follies. During that time period, she even held the honor of being the best paid female athlete internationally. As she’s gotten older, Janet has let her spirituality guide her, which lead her to become a Christian motivational speaker, and she’s become outspoken about conservative causes. Additionally, she appeared in the TV movie, The Snow Queen.
Shizuka Arakawa holds a special place in the pantheon of skaters from her home country, being that she’s the first Japanese figure skater to take home the gold, and only the second to ever receive an Olympic medal. Only Midori Ito had earned an Olympic medal for figure skating before Arakawa began competing, making her 2006 triumph even more meaningful. Prior to taking gold in Turin, Arakawa had taken the top slot at the World Championships in 2004, which had been held in Dortmund that year.
Shizuka Arakawa – Now
Following her Olympic win, Shizuka Arakawa turned pro, in addition to becoming a correspondent for Japanese television. Arakawa has spent time not just in front of the camera, but also behind it, having had a hand in the creation of the Japanese show, Friends on Ice. She also skated in a series for ABC that was titled Thin Ice. The show also featured Olympian Stephane Lambiel. This year, she was honored by carrying the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang.
One of the most accomplished figure skaters of the new millennium, Irina Slutskaya has won more medals than most of her fellow Russian skaters. She won the World Championship twice, first in 2002, then again on her home turf in 2005. Slutskaya has received a staggering number of medals, including two from the Olympics, nine from the European Championship, and six World Championship medals. From all of the prizes she’s won, 14 of them have been gold, which is definitely an accomplishment.
Irina Slutskaya – Now
Though Slutskaya could have turned pro and toured the U.S. with Champions on Ice, Irina preferred to go home, and work in Russia. She became a host for a number of skating-related shows, including Ice Age and Stars on Ice. Slutskaya also obliged to appear in a figure skating centric soap opera titled Hot Ice. In 2014, Slutskaya was an ambassador to the Winter Olympics that were being held in Sochi. Irina Slutskaya’s husband is Sergei Mikheev.
Meryl Davis & Charlie White
When considering well known American ice skating pairs from more recent competitions, Meryl Davis and Charlie White are probably the first who come to mind. The pair made history together when they won the gold medal for their routine, which came on top of two World Championship titles. No other American figure skating pair have managed to achieve as high honors as Davis and White have, being that they’re the only ones to take gold at the Olympics and in a World Championship.
Meryl Davis & Charlie White – Now
Meryl Davis and Charlie White are happy to continue skating together as professionals, however, they’ve ultimately decided that their competition days are over. Their official announcement was made in 2017. For all the time the two spend together, they’ve only just been skating partners, not romantic partners. Charlie tied the knot to his wife, Tanith Belbin since 2015, which Davis is engaged to Fedor Andreev, a figure skater shed been involved with for six years prior to their engagement.
If there was one thing that Irina Rodnina will be best remembered for, it’s the many records that she shattered in her heyday. The Russian figure skater won numerous medals, including a staggering 10 successive World Championships during the late 60s. As a result, this made her the only pair skater to ever achieve such a stunning feat. She also had a fruitful time during the Olympics, winning the gold in 1972, 1976, and 1980. Her two main partnerships were with Alexei Ulanov and Alexander Zaitsev.
Irina Rodnina – Now
It has been a long time since Irina Rodnina last performed on a professional level. However, this doesn’t mean that she has stayed out of the limelight. A few years ago, the former figure skater got into some trouble on social media when she posted a controversial tweet about the president at the time Barack Obama. After receiving intense backlash, Rodnina explained that her account had been hacked at the time that the photo had been posted.
One of Canada’s most beloved figure skaters, Kurt Browning had the most successful period in his career during the early 90s, becoming a prolific competitor in the World Championships. Between 1989 and 1992, he won numerous medals at the event, with four golds and one silver to his name. One of the signature programs that fans will remember Browning for was his “Singing in the Rain” performance, which saw the skater emulate the legendary performer Gene Kelly and dance like his character.
Kurt Browning – Now
Since retiring from competitive figure skating, Kurt Browning has gone on to become a successful performer on the road, as well as a popular commentator for CBC. Another way that Browning has kept busy is by helping to choreograph programs for numerous figure skaters such as Tara Lipinski, Sale & Pelletier and Evan Lysacek, to name a few. Browning’s personal life has also been fairly successful, having tied the knot with ballerina Sonia Rodriguez back in 1996. The couple have had two kids since then.
A 1994 Olympic Champion, Urmanov began his career in 1977. However, he didn’t win any medals until the early ‘90s, when he was still representing the Soviet Union, winning a silver medal at the World Junior Championships in 1990.
He competed in the Winter Olympics in 1992, and won fifth place. Earlier, in the 1993 World Championships, he won a bronze medal. At the 1984 Winter Olympics, he won a gold medal.
Alexei Urmanov — Now
Urmanov retired from skating in 1999. In 2001, his partner, Viktoria gave birth to twins. Three years later, in 2004, the couple married. He works as a coach and as an International Skating Union technical specialist.
Until 2014, he used to live in St. Petesberug, but he later moved to Sochi so that he could work at the Iceberg Skating Palace. From time to time, Urmanov holds summer camps and clinics in various locations in Europe, including France and Sweden.
Browning is a renowned former Candian ice skater. He is a four-time world champion, but he never brought Olympic gold home with him. He represented Canada during three Winter Olympics, in 1988, 1992, and 1994.
He even got the honor of carrying the Canadian flag during the 1994 Winter Olympics, which took place in Lillehammer, Norway. In 1988, during the World Championships in Budapest, Hungry, he performed a quadruple jump, which landed him a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
Kurt Browning — Now
Over the years, Browning was also heavily involved in choreography. One of his iconic programs (he regularly appears on TV), was Singing in the Rain. In the program, Browning emulates Gene Kelly, except that he does that on ice.
Although this program appeared in 1994, it is still asked to be performed to this day. Browning has also choreographed programs for numerous stars, including Kevin Alves, Brian Joubert, and Yuka Sato, just to name a few.
Richard “Dick” Button is a former American figure skater. He is famous for inventing the “flying camel spin” which was originally known as the “Button Spin,” named after him. He was a two-time Olympic champion, in 1948 and 1952, respectively.
What’s more, he was a five-time World Champion, between 1948 to 1952. Button was also the first skater to have performed the double Axel jump in competition in 1948, which is no simple feat!
Richard Button — Now
In 1952, Button retired from skating championships because he was admitted to Harvard Law school. Four years later, in 1956, he was awarded his law degree. He was admitted to the bar that same year in Washington D.C.
During his time at Harvard, Button kept skating, and he signed up with the Ice Capades. Button remained involved in skating in the decades that followed. He appeared on television as well, as he created various sports-related shows, including World Professional Figure Skating Championships and Challenge of Champions.
Chan is a former competitive Canadian figure skater. He won his Olympic gold medal in 2018, and his silver medal in 2014. Chan is also a three-time world champion, earning his titles in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
His skating style was known for artistry and elegance. He contributed a lot to the sport, improving his skating style from season to season. He also helped lots of skaters, improving their performance tremendously.
Patrick Chan — Now
In 2018, Chan participated in his last Olympic event, in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He announced shortly after that he would retire from Olympic skating. This doesn’t mean that Chan stopped skating altogether, as he still participates in figure skating tours in Canada.
Unfortunately, in December he sustained a major knee injury in a skiing incident. Two years later, in 2020, Chan has become an Olympic Committee ambassador. He is considered to be one of the greatest Canadian male skaters of all time.
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir
This pair of Canadian figure skaters became the first North Americans to win an Olympic gold medal in ice dancing in 2010, during the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Eight years later, in 2018, the pair won another gold medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Interestingly enough, the pair began skating together from a very young age, when Virtue was nine and Moir was seven. It was Moir’s aunt, also a professional skater, who introduced the two.
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir — Now
After 22 years of skating together, the pair retired from competitive skating, in September 2019. Unlike during their time as skaters, the two went separate ways. They do keep in touch, however.
Tessa has always been interested in fashion, and so she began modeling for a clothing brand, called RW&Co. Scott, however, refused to give up on his passion. He started working as a head coach and managing director of the Ice Academy of Montreal.
Dimitriev is a former Russian pair skater, known to have won the Olympics with two different partners. He won a gold medal with Natalia Mishkutionok in 1992 and with Oksana Kazakova in 1998.
In 1994, together with Mishkutionok, he won a silver medal as well. Dimitriev began skating in 1975, and represented the Soviet Union until its collapse, winning the World Figure Skating Championships and the European Championships in 1991 and 1992, together with Mishkutionok.
Artur Dimitriev — Now
Although Dimitriev’s skating partner Mishkutionok decided to retire from competition in 1994, Dimitriev remained true to his passion. In February 1995, he found a new skating partner, Oksana Kazakova.
In 1996, They won the European Championships and earned a bronze medal at the 1997 World Championships. In 1998, Dimitriev and his new partner won the Olympic title in Nagano, Japan. Dinitriev retired from Olympic skating in 1999. He has been coaching skaters since, in Moscow.
Despite her young age and a relatively short skating career, Medvedeva has a lot to show off. A two-time 2018 Olympic silver medalist, a two-time world champion, in 2016 and in 2017, a two-time Grand Prix Final champion, in 2015 and 2016, Medvedeva was defiantly considered a rising star.
Her long list of achievements is probably due to the fact that she has been skating since she was 3-years-old.
Evgenia Medvedeva — Now
Medvedev’s promising skating career was cut short in December 2021, when she announced that due to a chronic back injury she is forced to retire from competitive skating. During the short span of her career, Medvedeva made a name for herself.
She has set the world record score 13 times and became the first female skater to surpass the various skating marks. In the 2022 Winter Olympics, however, Medvedeva was spotted with her training partner Jason Brown.
Hanyu is a still active Japanese figure skater. But, don’t let his young age fool you. He has already made a name for himself, since he is a two-time Olympic champion, earning medals in 2014 and 2018, respectively. Hanyu is also a two-time world champion, earning his titles in 2014 and 2017.
Hanyu is also a six-time Japanese National champion, earning this title between 2012 to 2015 and between 2020 to 2021.
Yuzuru Hanyu — Now
In the 2022 Winter Olympics, which took place in Beijing, Hanyu performed rather poorly. He missed his opening quadruple Salchow jump due to a hole in the ice and was placed eighth.
And if that wasn’t enough, when doing the free skate, he fell twice in his first two opening jumps. Apparently, his bad performance during the free skate was due to the fact that he re-injured his ankle, and decided to take painkillers instead of withdrawing.
Ekaterina Gordeeva/Sergei Grinkov
The two were more than just partners. Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov were also married to each other. Gordeeva was the 1988 and 1994 Olympic Champion and four-time World Champion in 1986, 1987, 1989, and 1990, in pair skating, respectively.
After Grinkov’s death, Gordeeva continued performing as a singles skater. Her husband, Grinkov died in 1995 from a massive heart attack in Lake Placid, New York, while the two were actually preparing for a competition.
Ekaterina Gordeeva/Sergei Grinkov — Now
Despite her husband’s early demise, Gordeeva didn’t let his passing affect her skating career. She returned to the rink in 1996, only a year after the unfortunate event. She returned to the ice as a solo performer.
In 2002, Gordeeva married the 1998 Olympic men’s singles champion, Ilia Kulik, in San Fransico. Between 2008 to 2009 she briefly returned to pair skating. Gordeeva focuses on skating and choreography today. She is a member of a coaching team in West Edmonton Mall.
Illia Kuilk is a Russian figure skater. He has earned many awards during his career, including the 1998 Olympic Champion, the 1995 European Champion, the 1997–1998 Grand Prix Final champion, and the 1995 World Junior champion.
Kulik began skating when he was five years old. He became one of the youngest male figure skating Olympic champions, earning the Olympic title at the age of 20 and 267 days. He missed the European Championships in 1998, however, due to back problems.
Ilia Kulik — Now
In 1998, due to a chronic back problem, Kulik was forced to retire from competitive skating. Instead, he focused on performing in shows, including Stars on Ice, Ice All Stars, and Festa On Ice.
In 2002, he married former Olympian figure skater Ekaterina Gordeeva. In 2012, the pair opened a skating rink in Lake Forest, California. Kulik briefly tried his hand at acting, participating in the 2000s ballet-themed movie Center Stage.
A four-time Olympic medalist, Pluenshko is one of Russia’s most prominent figure skaters. He is a three-time World champion, a seven-time European champion, a four-time Grand Prix Final champion, and a ten-time Russian national champion.
Winning a total record number of 22 Grand Prix titles, Plushenko is considered one of the greatest skaters in history. He started skating when he was 4, only because his mother wanted him to become more physically active.
Evgeni Plushenko — Now
Between 2006 to 2008, it seemed like Plushenko will not go back to skating. However, it was only a short hiatus, which was much needed, given the fact that Plushenko batted old knee injures.
For the next ten years more or less, Plusheknko was very active, participating in various competitions and earning various titles. In 2014, however, Plushenko decided to withdraw from men’s single competitions due to a back injury. He hasn’t returned to professional competition since.
Savchenko is one of the most decorated pair skaters of our time. She is the 2018 Olympic Champion, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist, a six-time World Champion, a four-time European Champion, and a five-time Grand Prix Final champion.
She first represented Ukraine and then Germany. She began skating when she was five years old, after watching it on television. At the age of 13, she turn to pair skating, citing the fact that she enjoyed the acrobatics involved.
Aljona Savchenko — Now
Savchenko has been dividing her career between representing Ukraine and Germany over the last 15 years. Originally, she represented Ukraine with Dmitri Boyenko and later with Stanislav Morozov.
With Morozov, she was the 2000 World Junior champion, the 1999–2000 Junior Grand Prix Final champion, and a two-time Ukrainian national champion. In 2003, after a successful tour, she relocated to Germany. In June 2021, Savchenko announced that she will be moving to the United States to pursue her competitive career.
Yagudin is a former Russian figure skater. He is the 2002 Olympic champion, a four-time World champion, a three-time European champion, a two-time Grand Prix Final champion, and the 1996 World Junior champion.
He is the only skater to have achieved a Golden Slam, which is a victory in all major championships. Yagudin was introduced to skating when he was four years old, by his mother. The young Yagudin showed talent and promise from a very early age.
Alexei Yagudin — Now
In 2002, after a marvelous performance during that year’s Skate America competition, Yagudin announced his retirement from professional skating. This was due to the fact that he was diagnosed with a congenital hip disorder.
Yagudin has mainly worked as a show host, actor, and figure skating commentator. In 2019, the Russian former skater got his own TV show called Ice Is Melting with Alexei Yagudin, in which he holds interviews with various athletes.
Possibly one of the most tragic stories in the history of figure skating centers around Ekaterina Gordeeva and her beloved pairs partner and husband, Sergei Grinkov. The pair were training for a Stars on Ice performance, when out of the blue, Grinkov fainted and died in front of Gordeeva after attempting to lift her in the air. He died of a heart attack. Before the untimely moment, the pair won gold at both the 1988 and 1994 Olympics and were four-time World Champions.
Ekaterina Gordeeva – Now
Since losing her husband/pairs partner Sergei Grinkov back in 1995, Ekaterina Gordeeva has tried her luck as a solo figure skater, while also moving on with her personal life. In 2001, Gordeeva gave birth to her second child (she had her first with Grinkov) – Elizaveta Ilinicha Kulik, who she had with 1998 Olympic singles champion Ilia Kulik. Although the couple tied the knot the following year, they reportedly got divorced in 2015, at least according to People Magazine‘s “The Best of Olympic Figure Skating” Special Edition.
Midori Ito is the first Japanese figure skater to gain prominence on the world stage. Her career is notable for a number of her accomplishments, including being the first female skater to land every type of triple jump possible, all in a single competition. Ito won her first gold in 1989 when she was crowned the World Champion, but she had a bigger award coming her way, when she became the first Japanese female skater to earn a medal at the Olympics.
Midori Ito – Now
Ito retired from competition several years after earning the silver medal in 1992, but she couldn’t seem to shake her love of figure skating. She was honored in 1998 by being the torch lighter for the Winter games that were held in her native Japan, six-year after her medal By 2011, Ito was itching to compete once more and began entering into the ISU Adult Figure Skating Competition. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that she was able to earn two more silver medals.
Kristi Yamaguchi is one of the few skaters who began skating in a pair before transitioning to a solo skater. In 1992, she wowed the world with her stunning performance in Albertville at the Winter Games. By then, she had already been crowned World Champion twice, once the year before, and once that same year. Before striking out on her own, she’d been the gold medalist at the World Championship in 1989 and 1990 with Rudy Galindo at her side. She is also in two Halls of Fame.
Kristi Yamaguchi – Now
After Yamaguchi kissed competition goodbye, she became a renowned professional skater, touring with Stars on Ice for a number of years. Only four years after her gold medal finish, she founded a charity called the ‘Always Dream Foundation,’ whose purpose is to increase childhood literacy, and at a younger age. Yamaguchi was a hit in the sixth season of Dancing With the Stars, consistently wowing the judges with her routine. In 2011, she became an author with Dream Big, Little Pig! a book for children.
By 1998, Michelle Kwan was one of the most promising skaters hitting the rink. After years of honing her style and artistry, she was favored to win the gold in Nagano, at 18 years old, but ended up only taking silver after Tara Lipinski blazed onto the scene. Kwan continued competing for far longer, also taking a bronze medal in 2002, in addition to winning gold at five separate World Championship competitions. Kwan finally quit competition after the injury she sustained in 2006.
Michelle Kwan – Now
When she finally retired from figure skating competition, Michelle had a new venture in mind, namely, university. The accomplished athlete studied at the University of Denver along with Tufts University, located near Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating, she earned a position as one of Hillary Clinton’s campaign coordinators. Kwan has amassed an accomplished career in the world of politics, having worked in U.S. Department of Education and Cultural Affairs. Kwan also found love in the White House, marrying Clay Pell, but sadly they divorced last year.
Tonya Harding may be the most polarizing figure skater in American history, given her connection to Nancy Kerrigan’s attack. The two had been rivals since they began competing together on the world stage in 1991. Harding broke ground as the first American female to successfully land a triple axel in competition, but the attack on Kerrigan permanently marred her reputation. After the incident, Harding was banned from competitive skating, but she would go on to find new outlets for her athleticism.
Tonya Harding – Now
Harding transitioned from dominating the rink to dominating the ring, when she became a professional boxer after her skating career had ended. Harding only won three of her six matches, and chose to move on from that sport as well. She married Joseph Price, with whom she has a six-year-old son. Harding lives out of the spotlight, painting ad building decks near her home in the Pacific Northwest. She’s been receiving a new wave of attention, however, with the release of I, Tonya.