Top 13 U.S. Winter Olympians
These athletes took home gold, but also stole our hearts. Choose your favorite winter Olympian in our poll
- By Megan Gambino
- Smithsonian.com, January 19, 2010
Peggy Fleming (Staff / AFP / Getty Images)
In 1961, United States figure skating was dealt a harsh blow when a plane flying the U.S. team to the world championship crashed outside of Brussels, Belgium. Peggy Fleming, then a 12-year-old skater from San Jose, California, lost her coach, Bill Kipp, in the accident. But she continued to skate. By 1967, Fleming had won four U.S., one North American and two world titles. To many, she represented the rebirth of skating. ABC’s Wide World of Sports declared her its Athlete of the Year in 1967, and the skater earned the United States its only gold medal in the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble, France.