On This Date in Sports February 10, 1968: Golden Fleming
In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
Peggy Fleming brings home the Gold Medal in Women’s Figure Skating with a dominant performance at the Winter Games in Grenoble, France. Fleming represents the rising out of the ashes of tragedy for U.S. Figure Skating after the 1961 plane crash that killed the entire team. Peggy Fleming’s Gold Medal in Figure Skating would be the only gold won by the United States during the 1968 Winter Olympics.
Peggy Fleming was born in San Jose on July 27, 1948. She began skating when her family moved to Ohio. Fleming was a promising junior competitor at the age of 12 under the tutelage of William Kipp as her family moved to Colorado to support her development as a world-class figure skater. Kipp, along with the rest of the United States Figure Skating team, died on February 15, 1961, in a plane crash, on the way to the World Championships in Prague.
As Peggy Fleming grew older, she began to represent the new hop for figure skating in America as it tried to move past the tragedy of Sabena Flight 548. Entering the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France, Peggy Fleming was the top skater in the World, having won the World Championships in 1966 and 1967. With a heavily artistic performance, Peggy Fleming thrilled the Olympic judges. She was an overwhelming choice for the Gold Medal, finishing well ahead of Silver Medalist Gabriele Seyfert of East Germany, while Hana Maskova of Czechoslovakia captured the Bronze Medal.
Overall, Team USA had a rather forgettable showing in Grenoble, winning just seven medals, one gold, five silver, and one bronze. The Gold Medal won by Peggy Fleming would be the only gold won by the United States during the 1968 winter games. Among the Silver, Medals won by the United States was Tim Wood in the Men’s Figure Skating competition.
Peggy Fleming would retire from competitive skating shortly after the 1968 Winter Olympics. Fleming would become one of the World’s most successful professional skaters, headlining tours around the World as she gained several commercial endorsement contracts.