Lausanne, Switzerland

International Women's Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate and recognize achievements of women in the Ice Skating world. In the following lines, learn about four women skaters who have been incredibly remarkable on and off the ice:

Erin Jackson: Just an amazing person

Erin Jackson (USA) Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Beijing (CHN) @ISU 1370478056

Gold medallist Erin Jackson (USA) celebrates during the Women's 500m medal ceremony at he Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Medal Plaza in Beijing (CHN) @GettyImages

At the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games, Erin Jackson (USA) became the first woman of color to take an Olympic Speed Skating medal, winning the 500m title. “Hopefully more people will see this and will be like 'oh, maybe I should try some of these winter sports,” she said. “I just hope to be a good example."

Coming from Ocala, Florida, Speed Skating is not the most obvious choice of sports. Jackson started out as an inline skater and won seven World Championship medals from 2010 to 2018, taking two silver and five bronze medals on both road and track. Following the footsteps of her senior Florida inline teammates Brittany Bowe (USA) and Joey Mantia (USA), Jackson made the transition from wheels to blades after first having set foot on the ice in the Netherlands in 2016. Two years later she made her Olympic debut at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, ending up 24th in the 500m.

Apart from inline skating and ice skating, Jackson also set strides in her academic career, getting a bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering at the University of Florida, and associate's degrees in computer science and exercise science at Salt Lake Community College in Utah. She explains: "Maybe going to school is a hobby for me. When I first moved here [Salt Lake City] I wasn't going to school and I felt like I wasn't being very productive, so when the program became available I started taking classes again.”

Meanwhile she gradually improved her technique on the ice in Salt Lake City too. Jackson had a breakthrough season in the run-up to the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games, winning four 500m World Cup races.

Erin Jackson (USA) ISU World Cup Speed Skating 2021 Tomaszow Mazowiecki (POL) @GettyImages 1353032451

Erin Jackson (USA) competes during the ISU World Cup Speed Skating 2021 in Tomaszow Mazowiecki (POL) @GettyImages

Yet, she almost missed out on Olympic qualification. At the US trials, she had a mishap at the start and placed in third, with the USA only having two available spots. Friend and teammate Brittany Bowe, who had won the race, decided to forfeit her spot in favor of Jackson. Jackson paid back Bowe’s faith winning the Olympic gold and she made her teammate proud.

Erin Jackson (USA) and Brittany Bowe (USA) Beijing 2022 Olympic Games @GettyImages 1370361775

Erin Jackson (USA) celebrating with Brittany Bowe (USA) during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing (CHN) @GettyImages

Bowe said: “She is a role model for so many people, and I think what she did tonight is going to be a springboard to give so many little girls and boys the opportunity to look up to someone that they haven't been able to look at and relate to. So that goes far beyond what any of us could imagine, how many people, specifically little girls she's going to be touching."

Yuna Kim: A trailblazer for Korean Figure Skating

Yuna Kim (KOR) XXIII ANOC General Assembly 2018 Tokyo (JPN) @GettyImages 1066051064

Yuna Kim (KOR) with the Outstanding Performance award during the 2018 ANOC General Assembly 2018 Tokyo (JPN) @GettyImages

Korea has celebrated a lot of success in Short Track Speed Skating, but Figure Skating was a stepchild until Yuna Kim came along. She turned heads when she debuted at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in fall 2004, winning gold and silver. The young Skater was the first Korean to take medals on the ISU Junior Grand Prix and it was just the beginning. Yuna went on to claim silver at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2005 and then gold a year later. She continued her success at the senior level – earning bronze in her ISU World Championship debut in 2007. In 2009 Kim became the first (and so far only) Korean Figure Skater to win the World title and a year later she was crowned Olympic Champion in Vancouver.

Yuna Kim (KOR) 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 Vancouver (CAN) @GettyImages 97081695 (1)

Yuna Kim (KOR) celebrates winning the gold medal during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver (CAN) @GettyImages

Yuna, now 32, inspired and continues to inspire the next generations of Korean Figure Skaters. Most of the current top Korean top skaters such as 2020 Youth Olympic Games Champion and 2022 Olympian Young You took up skating because of Kim. The 2014 Olympic silver medalist supported these young skaters, giving them advice.


Off the ice, Kim has been appointed Unicef Goodwill Ambassador in 2010. She has donated large sums to support victims of natural disasters such as the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the tsunami in Japan in 2011, an earthquake in Nepal in 2015 and many others. As a member of the Olympic Bidding Committee for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, she played a key role in the success of the bid. Yuna now serves as honorary ambassador of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 and thus continues her active involvement in the sport.


Yang Yang: Legends live on

Yang Yang (CHN) Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Beijing (CHN) @GettyImages 1368703146

Yang Yang (CHN) carries the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games  in Beijing (CHN) @GettyImages

Yang Yang of China has achieved an extraordinary amount, both on and off the ice. She is the most decorated female Short Track athlete of all time – with six overall titles between 1997 and 2002 – a record only Viktor An of Republic of Korea can match.

Winning a total of 34 gold medals in her sport, she was dubbed ‘the Queen of Short Track’. Her most notable victory was at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games, where she won the women's 500m, making her China's first ever winter Olympic gold medalist. She followed that triumph up with gold in the 1000m, and has five Olympic medals overall.

Evgenia Radanova (BUL),Yang Yang (CHN) and Chunlu Wang (CHN) Olympic Winter Games 2002 Salt Lake (USA) @GettyImages 51518052

Evgenia Radanova (BUL), Yang Yang (CHN) and Chunlu Wang (CHN) during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City (USA) @GettyImages

Yang Yang fulfilled the prestigious role of carrying the Beijing 2022 Olympic Flame during the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony at the Bird’s Nest Stadium, and remains extremely active in her sport.

She retired from racing in 2006, but has remained involved in sports administration and, was elected a ISU Council Member from 2016 to 2018, then in 2020 became WADA’s first independent Vice-President. 

Yang Yang (CHN) World Anti Doping Agency Press Conference Tokyo (JPN) @GettyImages 1330134208

Yang Yang (CHN) WADA Vice President during the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency Press Conference in Tokyo (JPN) @GettyImages

She was elected as an IOC member in 2010, becoming mainland China’s fourth representative, and she co-founded a skating centre in Shanghai.

Ida Hellström: Multitasking for Synchronized Skating

isu athlete commission 2021

Ida Hellström (FIN) with her team "Marigold Ice Unity" competing during the 2015 French Cup Synchronized Skating competition in Rouen (FRA) @GettyImages

Finland’s Ida Hellström, 28, is a multitasking talent, active on and off the ice for Synchronized Skating. For four years, the Finn was a member of the successful team Marigold Ice Unity, winning with them the ISU World Championships in 2014.


Hellström ended her active skating career in 2016, but she stayed involved in the sport while starting a professional career as a lawyer. Since she was interested in rules and officiating, she became a Technical Specialist and she also started to coach an adult team, more as a hobby, but it keeps her actively connected to the sport.

In 2019, Hellström added one more aspect to her portfolio. She ran for the ISU Athletes’ Commission and was elected.

isu athlete commission 2021

left to right: E. Radford, I. Hellström, D. de Vries, Y. Zhou, Y. Hulitski

“I felt the skating journey had given me so much and taught me so much that I just felt it is my time to give something back to the skating community and work for the athletes,” the 2014 World Champion told the Jura Synchro podcast in 2021. “It would be good to have some influence from the skaters’ side. The goal of the athletes’ commission is to be a bridge between the ISU and the skaters so that they feel that the ISU is really working for them and being near their lives instead of being something really far away that you don’t really see.”

In her role as an athlete representative, Hellström wants to increase the visibility of skating in general, raise the awareness for Synchronized Skating within the ISU, attract more members to build teams and, obviously, she wants to pursue the Olympic dream for Synchronized Skating.