Dorothy Hamill’s father was very supportive of her ambition as a figure skater. She started taking weekly lessons at the age of eight, and would gradually increase her interest in the sport, so much so that her father would spend about $20,000 annually for its concomitant expenses.
Dorothy Hamill became an Olympic gold medal champion in the 1976 Olympics. That same year she also became a world champion, both in the ladies’ singles category. Surprisingly, Hamill would retire the same year she had been performing really well. In 2008 she announced that she was being treated for a severe medical condition.
Born to gymnast parents, Nastia Liukin didn’t have any problem growing into the sport her family loves. The Russian-American was born in Moscow but moved to America with her family when she was two years old. The following year she would start her first lessons since she was always in the gym with her parents anyway, and she first competed at the junior level in 2002.
She eventually tied with Shannon Miller for third place with the most world championship medals among US gymnasts. She was the all-around champion in the 2008 Olympics, where she also garnered three silver medals and a bronze. She attempted to make a comeback in 2010 but failed to make the cut after several falls.
Jan Zelezny is a retired Czech track and field athlete, widely considered the best javelin thrower of modern times. As an Olympian, he won gold medals in the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympics, and he held the world record for throwing 98.48 meters for several years.
It is remarkable how he has kept himself above the competition by also being credited for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best performances. Now retired, he coaches in Prague and works for the IOC.
Greg Louganis remains the only Olympic diver in history to have swept the diving events in two consecutive Olympic Games. He competed dominantly both in the springboard and the platform in the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics, and his excellent performances have prompted him to be called the “greatest American diver,” and arguably the “greatest diver” ever.
Even today, he is still remembered for his head injury in the pool during the Seoul Olympics. Greg Louganis is now an LGBTQ+ activist and serves as a mentor to the US Diving team.
Alicia Sacramone’s gymnastics career spanned over a decade. Her learning stage started when she was eight, and in just seven years she would enter an elite-level competition. Winning 12 medals from 2004 to 2008 in the US National Championships, as well as winning four golds, four silvers, and one bronze in the World Championships adds considerably to her being one of the most decorated gymnasts in the world.
She won the silver medal in the 2008 Olympics and proceeded to qualify for the Visa national championships. Failing to make it to the Olympic team, she left the sport in 2012 with “no regrets.”