Vanessa Gusmeroli (FRA), Tara Lipinski (USA) and Michelle Kwan (USA) at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 1997©Allsport
Tara Lipinski (USA) was only 14 years old when she struck gold at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 1997 in Lausanne (SUI). She became the youngest Figure Skater to take the World title then as she was two months younger than the legendary Sonja Henie (NOR) who won her first World title in 1927 not long before her 15th birthday. Lipinski’s record cannot be broken with the current age eligibility rules. The minimum age has been raised from 14 to 15 years in 1996, effective for the 1996/97 season. Tara was only allowed to compete in Lausanne at the ISU World Championships as a 14-year-old because an exception was made for athletes who already had competed in senior-level events before the rule change.
In 1998, the then 15-year-old American claimed gold at the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano (JPN), becoming the youngest Olympic Ladies Figure Skating Champion. She was a few weeks younger than Alina Zagitova (RUS), who won Olympic gold 20 years later at age 15 as well.
Lipinski, who began Roller Skating at age three and started Figure Skating at age six, was well known for her jumping ability and had a rare triple Loop-triple Loop combination in her arsenal. She is also the first female Skater to land that combination in competition and did so when she was 13 years old. However, she was also criticized for some technical flaws in her skating such as a wrong edge on her Lutz. Tara retired from competitive skating following her Olympic triumph and performed in shows and professional events. When she was 18 she underwent hip surgery, but returned on to the ice for shows.
Tara ended her skating career in 2002 and eventually turned to broadcasting. Together with another former skater, Johnny Weir (USA), the now 38-year-old has been a commentator for Figure Skating at the Olympic Winter Games in 2014 and 2018 as well as for many other Figure Skating competitions.
In 2017, Tara got married to sports producer Todd Kapostasy.