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Bonnie Blair: A Wonder on Skates


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Bonnie Blair, an American speed skater, is one of the most decorated female athletes in Olympic history. She won five Olympic medals, four gold and one bronze, in four Olympic competitions.

Bonnie was born in Cornwall, New York, and grew up in Champaign, Illinois. A lover of skating from an early age, she became very good at going very fast. When she graduated from high school, she moved to the Milwaukee area to train with the U.S. national speed skating team.

When she was just 19, she competed in the 1984 Winter Olympics, in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. She finished in eighth place in the 500 meters, the shortest of the speed skating events. She was hungry for more.

She continued to train hard. When the 1988 Winter Olympics rolled around, there was Bonnie Blair, skating for the U.S. in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. That year, she won two medals, a bronze in the 1000 meters and a gold in the 500 meters. She had certainly improved! In that 500-meter race, she set a world record.

After the Calgary Olympics, it was back to training and working hard. She made the U.S. team again in 1992, when the Olympics took place in Albertville, France. Again, it was Bonnie on top, this time winning gold in both the 500 meters and the 1000 meters.

A change in Olympics rules brought another Winter Olympics just two years later. Bonnie was again skating for the U.S., at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. And again, she was dominant, winning both the 500 meters and the 1000 meters. She became the first woman to win five Olympic medals.

Bonnie retired from skating in 1995, but not before she had won several prestigious awards. She was named Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 1994. That same year, she was the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year. And in 2004, she was elected to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.


 
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