Blogtober Day 22: Peggy Fleming

You want to know how well-planned this month's bloggy endeavor was? There are six figure skaters on my list of people to write fan letters to; two were done in the first half of the month, and four were left for the final week and a half. Hah, whoops?

The Grenoble 1968 Olympics were the first ever to be televised in color. Clearly someone saw Peggy's ballin' chartreuse skating dress and was like, "AMERICA MUST BE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE THIS IN ALL ITS GLORY!" Boom, color broadcasts.

Peggy started skating when she was nine, and it didn't take long for everything to get flipped on its head. In 1961, when she was 12, her coach (along with the rest of the U.S. figure skating national team) was killed in a plane crash on the way to the 1961 World Championships. After the tragedy, she was coached by the legendary Carlo Fassi and went on to win five U.S. titles, three World titles and Olympic gold in 1968 before retiring.

In 1993, Peggy was named the third most popular athlete in America (behind Mary Lou Retton and fellow skater Dorothy Hamill), which kind of boggles my mind because the Dream Team was a thing in 1992. In 1998, Peggy was diagnosed with breast cancer, but it was caught early and she underwent surgery. She's now in remission and a huge breast cancer activist. She and her husband own and operate a winery, and the profits from one of their wines go to charities that support breast cancer research.

She's been a figure skating commentator for over 20 years now, and she was in Blades of Glory as a judge. Yes.

The plane crash that killed Peggy's coach wiped out the entire top level of U.S. figure skating. Think about it; these were the skaters and coaches going to the world championships, and suddenly they were all gone. Peggy came up in a skating world that was basically a vacuum. 1964 was the first Olympics in 12 years that had no American on the ladies' figure skating podium. When she won Olympic gold, it signaled America's return to figure skating dominance; an American lady won a figure skating medal in every Olympics until 2010.

But Peggy's gold medal meant even more to America as a whole, as it was the only gold medal won by Team USA at the winter Olympics in 1968. I can't even comprehend that.

You rock that chartreuse dress, girl!

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