American speed (ice) skater who won five Olympic gold medal
s and a bronze in her career. Considered to be one of the best women's speed skaters in history.
Blair (DOB: March 18, 1964; Cornwall, New York)
competed in the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics, at just 19 years of age. She finished 8th in the 500 meters race, but it was clear that her future was bright.
Four years later, Blair achieved Olympic success in the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada. She set a world record in her 500 meter race, en route to winning her first gold. Blair added a bronze medal in the 1000 meter race.
In the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, Blair became the first woman to ever win consecutive gold medals in the 500 meters race. She also won the 1000 meters, giving her a total of 3 golds over the two Olympics. Blair won the 1992 James E. Sullivan Memorial Award as the top American amateur athlete.
2 years later, in the 1994 Olympics held in Lillehammer, Norway, Blair won both the 500 meters and 1000 meters again. This gave her a grand total of 5 golds and one bronze. Blair narrowly missed another medal, finishing 4th in the 1500 meters (she also finished 4th in the 1500 in the 1988 Calgary Games).
The 6 medals made her the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian ever (either male or female). In addition, her 5 golds was an all-time record for American women (in either the Summer or Winter Olympics). For her efforts, Blair was named the 1994 Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated's 1994 Sportswoman of the Year.
Blair retired on top as well. In her last race, on her 31st birthday (March 18, 1995), Blair won her 1000 meter race, setting a personal best and American record in the process. Ironically, the race was in Calgary, where she first had Olympic success.
Blair has often given to worthy causes and in 1996 was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.
In 1999, ESPN's SportsCentury series selected Blair as the 69th greatest North American athlete of the 20th century.