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Top 30 Winter Olympians | Olympic Stories | Olympic Runners

These are the greatest Winter Olympians of all time. In no particular order, here are 30 of the highest profile Winter Olympians in the world. There are ski jumpers, speed skaters, snowboarders as well as curling!



Battle of the BriansBattle of the BriansIn preparation for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Brian Boitano of the USA and Brian Orser of Canada were considered two of the best male figure skaters of their generation.
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A True Speedskating LegendA True Speedskating LegendBorn in Cornwall, New York on March 18, 1964, Bonnie Kathleen Blair is a retired American speedskater who had a fantastic career.
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Jayne Torvill and Christopher DeanJayne Torvill and Christopher Deanthe world was treated to perhaps the greatest dancing performance ever recorded in the world, thanks to a pair of British dancers, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. To this day, their routine at the 1984 Games is known as the “perfect dance.”
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Herman Maier – The Crash that Catapulted a LegendHerman Maier – The Crash that Catapulted a LegendDuring the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, the world found new appreciation for Herman Maier, whose terrifying crash turned into a heroic triumph of monumental proportions.
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Franz Klammer's Historic 1976 Olympic PerformanceFranz Klammer's Historic 1976 Olympic PerformanceNot every great performance in Olympic history is marked by winning multiple medals. In fact, some of the greatest performances to live on in time deal with only a single gold medal, in true underdog fashion, as it is with Austrian ski racer Franz Klammer.
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Raisa Smetanina - Winning Olympic Gold at a Ripe AgeRaisa Smetanina - Winning Olympic Gold at a Ripe AgeDue to injuries, muscle loss, weight gain, and Father Time simply refusing to lose, stories like Raisa Smetanina's are very few and far between. So for Olympic fans and athletes, there's a lot to be admired by this woman's impressive 1992 Olympic feat
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Eric Heiden – A Gold Medal YearEric Heiden – A Gold Medal YearBorn in Madison, Wisconsin on June 14, 1958, Eric Authur Heiden is a former long-track speedskater and road cyclist. For a speedskater, Heiden was always considered quite the impressive specimen.
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Shaun White – An Amazing Intro in Turin Shaun White – An Amazing Intro in Turin One of the most popular athletes in the world, Shaun White is a fantastic snowboarders and skateboarder whose X Games performances seem to get better every year. However, the X Games were always considered to cater to niche sports, and there were many questions going into the 2006 Olympic Games on whether or not White could compete on this level of competition
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Bjorn Daehlie - 1998 Olympic GamesBjorn Daehlie - 1998 Olympic GamesDuring the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, Bjorn Daehlie not only cemented his legacy as the biggest individual winner in Winter Olympics history, but also as one of the best sportsmen to ever compete on any stage
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Yvonne van Gennip – The Duchess of Speed SkatingYvonne van Gennip – The Duchess of Speed SkatingContrary to popular belief, underdog stories are not figments of writers’ imaginations. For every Stallone writing a Rocky, there’s a real-life athlete out there overcoming great odds to win the bout of their lives.
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Apolo Ohno – America’s Winter ChampionApolo Ohno – America’s Winter Championdespite only winning 2 gold medals in the Olympics, Apolo Ohno is considered to be the most decorated man in American Winter Olympic history. With 4 bronze and 2 silver medals to go along with his 2 golds, Ohno has a total of 8 medals in speed skating and stands as a true champion.
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Steven Bradbury – Making the Best of an Opportunity Steven Bradbury – Making the Best of an Opportunity Take Steven Bradbury of Australia for example. In the 2002 Winter Games, he was running his short track speed skating 1000m with favorite Apolo Ohno from America, and defending world champion Marc Gagnon of Canada.
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Women’s British Curling Team – A Modern Day Miracle Women’s British Curling Team – A Modern Day Miracle While curling might not be as popular of a sport, you have to understand that women’s curling was dominated by the Canadians even more so than the Soviet men dominated hockey. Curling belonged to Canada, and when the British women came along in 2002, no one gave them a chance
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Picabo Street – A Brief Moment in the Sun Picabo Street – A Brief Moment in the Sun Despite her obvious talent, she was always getting hurt in some form or fashion, never living up to her full potential on the world circuit or in the Olympic Games. However, she fought hard to change that fate in the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. Fighting back from an injury, Street proved determination and instinct can lead to a gold medal
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Jean-Claude Killy – The Frenchman Sweeps Grenoble Jean-Claude Killy – The Frenchman Sweeps Grenoble Born on August 30, 1943 in Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, France, Jean-Claude Killy is a retired alpine ski racer who dominated the field throughout the late 1960s and eventually became one of the most popular athletes in France’s celebrated history
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Alberto “La Bomba” TombaAlberto “La Bomba” TombaTomba was always a bombastic personality. If you didn’t know who he was, he would be quick to tell you. And if someone didn’t believe he was the best skier in the business, Tomba would waste no time proving his worth on the slopes.
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Michael “Eddie the Eagles” Edwards Michael “Eddie the Eagles” Edwards Michael Edwards, aka Eddie the Eagle, was born on December 5, 1963 in Cheltenham, England. Growing up in Woodchester, Edwards took to multiple sports as a child, and he would become a great local skier as he grew up. As a downhill skier, Edwards failed to qualify for the British National team for the 1984 Olympic Games
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Sonja Henie - A True Icon Sonja Henie - A True Icon Starring in over a dozen Hollywood feature films and winning more singles figure skating titles than any other woman in history, Sonja Henie stands as a true icon in both the sporting realm and for those lovers of classic movies.
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The Jamaican Bobsleigh Team – A Tropical Triumph The Jamaican Bobsleigh Team – A Tropical Triumph In 1993, Cool Runnings was released to wide praise – a movie about the 1988 Jamaican Bobsleigh Team that overcame a lot of daunting odds to compete in the Winter Olympic Games that year. While the movie was only loosely based on the actual events, the crash footage from the Olympics was still used
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Masahiko Harada – From Meltdown to Marvelous Masahiko Harada – From Meltdown to Marvelous As an individual competitor, Harada was a force to be reckoned with. Entering the ’94 Games, Masahiko had won gold in the 1993 World Championships in Falun. He was expected to be the Japanese team’s biggest weapon for competition, and in training and in qualifying, he did not disappoint
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Dan Jansen – From Tragedy Comes a ChampionshipDan Jansen – From Tragedy Comes a ChampionshipVery rarely in history do we have a chance to witness a story of true redemption at the Olympic level. The reason for this may be rather simple. An athlete can only fail so many times before they fall out of contention on a world stage, thus not earning a spot to compete in future Games.
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Nancy Kerrigan – Mettle for the Medal Nancy Kerrigan – Mettle for the Medal Fresh off of a bronze medal in the '92 Olympics and a '93 USA National Championship, Nancy Kerrigan, like many other figure skaters, was hard at work preparing for the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer
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Georg Hackl – A Photo Finish OlympianGeorg Hackl – A Photo Finish OlympianBorn in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, West Germany on September 9, 1966, Georg Hackl is a former luger and multi Olympic and World Championship medal winner. Hackl’s career took off after a disappointing run in the 1988 Winter Olympics
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Eugenio Monti - A Fierce Force at Forty Eugenio Monti - A Fierce Force at Forty Born October 23, 1928 in Toblach, Italy, Eugenio Monti, known as The Flying Redhead, was an Italian skier who competed professionally and actually did quite well in the championship circuit before switching over to the bobsleigh. Although Eugenio passed away in 2003, his memory lives on in the hearts of many Italians who recognize what a gifted athlete Monti really was
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Marja-Liisa Hamalainen - The Pride of Finland Marja-Liisa Hamalainen - The Pride of Finland Finland has always been a very proud country with a ton of history and tradition, but when it came to Olympic success, they went for over six decades without having a powerhouse athlete win three or more gold medals in one Games. This would all change with Marja-Liisa Hamalainen, however, who would ultimately break that long curse with a dominating performance on the slopes in the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo
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Kristi Yamaguchi - Breaking Through Barriers Kristi Yamaguchi - Breaking Through Barriers If ever there were a true feel-good story in the Olympics, Kristi Yamaguchi's 1992 Olympic win would be it. There have been countless stories in the Olympic canon which send chills up the spine. However, few athletes in history have been able to win a medal in the strange, seemingly mystical fashion that Yamaguchi did in 1992
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Claudia Pechstein – The Greatest Female SpeedskaterClaudia Pechstein – The Greatest Female SpeedskaterBorn on February 22, 1972 in East Berlin, Germany, Claudia Pechstein is a speedskater who has experienced massive success over her career. Although she’s hoping to eventually make her return to the 2014 Winter Olympics as a cyclist, her heart has always been with speedskating
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Ole Einar Bjorndalen – An Impressive Olympic Run Ole Einar Bjorndalen – An Impressive Olympic Run Ole Einar Bjorndalen is one of the best athletes in the world. His gold medal sweep at the Salt Lake City Olympics helped to cement that status, but Bjorndalen has been working increasingly hard to win more competitions and to add more gold medals to the shelf.
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Tara Lipinski – Winter's Youngest Champion Tara Lipinski – Winter's Youngest Champion When a 15-year-old Tara Lipinski won an Olympic Gold Medal at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, she broke a 70-year-old record to become the youngest athlete to ever win gold in the Winter Games. And while this does stand as a very impressive feat for someone so young, Lipinski was already a very seasoned competitor heading into the Games at Nagano
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Larisa Lazutina – A Winning Run in 1998Larisa Lazutina – A Winning Run in 1998Women's events in most sports are just as appreciated as the men's competitions, and a woman like Larisa Lazutina is considered every bit as important to the overall Olympiad as a male athlete like Eric Heiden. During an impressive and historic run during the 1998 Winter Games in Naganto, Japan, Larisa Lazutina forever etched her mark in Olympic history, and her feat plays second fiddle to no one.
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