Figure skating has become an iconic part of the Winter Games. Spectators become fascinated by the stories behind the skaters and the drama and fashion they bring to the Olympics. Click through this gallery to see the evolution of figure-skating costumes.
While the clothing has changed, high emotion remains constant in Olympic figure skating. Scroll down to see some of the sport’s most dramatic Olympic moments.
This photo captures the moment before British ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean became the highest-scoring figure skaters in Olympic history. The couple’s performance at the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Games earned perfect sixes. This record will likely never be broken since the scoring system for Olympic figure skating changed following a controversy at the 2002 Winter Games.
Days before the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, U.S. ice dancer Elizabeth Punsalan’s father was murdered. Devastated, Punsalan was distracted and fell during competition. Four years later, Punsalan returned to the Olympics with her skating partner, Jerod Swallow, whom she had since married, and the couple won over the judges with a steamy tango number they threw together six weeks before the Nagano Winter Games.
Ranked by some as one of the greatest moments in U.S. figure skating history, 15-year-old Tara Lipinski’s technically masterful routine made her the youngest-ever gold medalist in the competition at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano.
France’s Surya Bonaly arrived at what she knew to be her last Olympics with an injury that caused her to underperform in her short program. Rather than bow out with a lackluster finish, Bonaly threw it all in with her free skate and launched into an illegal back flip, writing her name into Olympic history.
Russian skater Evgeny Plyushchenko hoped to end his Olympic career with gold at the Sochi 2014 Games, but an injury left him so disappointed in his performance that he withdrew from competition. “What worries me, though, is that after all those victories, people don’t see me as a human being anymore,” he said. “I know pain and fatigue.”
Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo thought their Olympic careers ended with two bronze medals. But the pair came back from retirement to win China’s first gold medal in figure skating in Vancouver in 2010. Later that year, they got married on the ice during a figure skating show while friends and international stars like Johnny Weir and Evgeny Plyushchenko performed in the couple’s honor.
ShareAmerica writer Emily Louise Bowman contributed to this article.