Born November 2, 1972 in Northfield, Illinois, Phoebe Mills began her athletic career as a speed skater, winning the international age division record for 500 meters when she was eight years old. She later turned her attention to gymnastics, becoming one of Bela Karolyi's first protégés after Mary Lou Retton. Beginning in 1988, Mills made it known that she was the best in the country, taking first place at the American Cup, U.S. Classic, U.S. National Championships, and the U.S. Olympic Trials. At the the 1988 Olympics in South Korea, Mills was the only American gymnast to win a medal, earning the bronze for her performance on balance beam. After the Olympics, she finished high school and then took up competitive diving while a student at the University of Miami. Mills had earned three second place and two first place finishes at the 1986 U.S. Olympic Festival as a gymnast, and by 1993 competed in the Festival as a diver. Two years later she graduated from the university with a degree in environmental policy, then became interested in snowboarding and began coaching that sport in Vermont. In 2000 Mills was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, and in October moved to San Diego where she coaches both gymnastics and snowboarders.