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Tara Lipinski

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Tara Kristen Lipinski (born June 10, 1982) is an American figure skater and celebrity. At the age of 15, she won the Olympic gold medal in figure skating at the 1998 Winter Olympics, and remains the youngest gold medalist in the history of the Olympic Winter Games.

That year, the International Skating Union voted to raise the minimum age for participating at the World Championships to 15. Lipinski, who was 13 at the time, was grandfathered into remaining eligible for future events, along with other skaters who had already competed at the World Championships before the new age requirement was introduced.

The following season, Lipinski got off to a shaky start, losing to Michelle Kwan at Skate America, to Laetitia Hubert at Trophee Lalique, and to Kwan again at the 1998 U.S. Championships.Tara Lipinski performs a layback spin.

At the 1998 Winter Olympics, both Lipinski and Kwan skated excellent programs, with Lipinski winning a narrow victory. Many people believe that Lipinski was aided by the fact that she skated near the end of the last group, as Kwan had skated first, as it is a common practice for judges to "save room" for skaters who have yet to perform. However, Lipinski performed a more technically difficult program than Kwan.

In an August 2001 article in Blades on Ice magazine, Lipinski stated that the real reason she turned professional was that she had originally incurred the injury to her hip in the summer of 1997 and that she had skated the entire Olympic season in terrible pain. It was never adequately explained why she never mentioned this injury at the time, or why all of her previous statements (including those on her official web site) regarding her hip problems referred to the original injury as happening in the summer of 1998 rather than in 1997.

The year before her Olympic win, the U.S. Olympic Committee named Lipinski the 1997 Female Athlete of the Year. Lipinski is particularly proud of the recognition she has received from fans. In 1999 and 2000 she was voted Best Female Athlete at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. In 1999, she won Best Female Athlete at the inaugural Fox Teen Choice Awards. She received similar awards from Teen People and Teen magazine. She has been recognized by the American Academy of Achievement, the Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Foundation, and many other organizations. In 2006, Lipinski was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

She is also dedicated to helping children in need, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Children's Circle of Care, the philanthropic organization for children's hospitals nationwide.


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