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
Eric Heiden (Tony Duffy / Allsport)
Speed skater Eric Heiden took the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games by storm, placing first in all five speed skating events. He set new Olympic records in each distance, snatched a world record in the 10,000 meters and became the first (and still the only) American to win five gold medals in a single Winter Games. After retiring from speed skating, Heiden pursued cycling. He won the U.S. Professional Cycling Championship in 1985 and entered the Tour de France in 1986, though a fall prevented him from finishing. In February, Heiden, 51, now an orthopedic surgeon, will return to the Olympics. This time, as the U.S. Speedskating team’s doctor.