Carol Heiss

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Carol Heiss
Personal information
Country represented  United States
Born (1940-01-20) January 20, 1940 (age 74)
Former coach Pierre Brunet
Skating club SC of New York
Retired 1960
Olympic medal record
Women's figure skating
Competitor for  United States
Gold 1960 Squaw Valley Singles
Silver 1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo Singles

Carol Elizabeth Heiss Jenkins (born January 20, 1940 in New York City) is an American figure skater and former actress. She is the 1960 Olympic Champion in Ladies Singles, 1956 Olympic silver medalist and five-time World Champion (1956–1960).

Biography[edit]

Heiss grew up in the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, New York, where she started skating at the age of 6.[1] She was coached by Pierre Brunet. Heiss first came to national prominence in 1951, when she was U.S. Novice Ladies' Champion at age 11. She won the U.S. Junior Ladies title in 1952, and then moved up to the senior level in 1953. From 1953 to 1956, she finished second to Tenley Albright at the national championships.

Heiss's 1956 performance qualified her for the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. She won the silver medal, while Albright took the gold. However, at the following World Figure Skating Championships at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, West Germany, Heiss defeated Albright for the title; it was the first of her five consecutive world titles. During her run of world titles, she also attended New York University, graduating after the 1960 Winter Olympics.[2]

Snow White Carol Heiss and Prince Charming Edson Stroll in Snow White and the Three Stooges, 1961

After the 1956 Winter Olympics, Heiss had offers to turn professional and skate in ice shows. But her mother, Marie Heiss, was quite ill with cancer at the time, and before her death in October, 1956, she asked Carol to stay an amateur to win a gold medal for her. Between 1957 and 1960, Carol Heiss dominated women's figure skating like nobody since Sonja Henie. She was the World and U.S. Champion each year, and at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California, Heiss captured the gold medal, being ranked first by all nine judges. She also took the Olympic Oath as representative of the organizing country to open the 1960 games. By winning the 1960 World Championships held after the Olympics, Heiss became one of three women to have won five consecutive World Championships. She retired thereafter.

Following her retirement from figure skating in 1960, Heiss played the female lead in the 1961 film Snow White and the Three Stooges. She married Hayes Alan Jenkins, who had won the 1956 Winter Olympic gold medal in men's figure skating, and whose brother David Jenkins had won the men's figure skating gold medal in 1960. Although Heiss briefly skated in ice shows after the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics, she retired from the sport in 1962. However, in the late 1970s, she returned to coach several skaters in her hometown area, Akron, Ohio where she became a prominent figure skating coach and is now coaching in Lakewood, Ohio. Some of her students include Timothy Goebel, Tonia Kwiatkowski and Miki Ando.

Heiss was known as a very athletic skater for her time. In 1953, she became the first female skater to land a double axel jump. Another one of her trademarks was doing a series of alternating clockwise and counterclockwise single axels.[3] Heiss normally rotated her jumps clockwise and spins counterclockwise; it is much more common for skaters to do both in the same direction (usually counterclockwise).

Carol Heiss's younger sister and brother, Nancy Heiss and Bruce Heiss, were also elite figure skating competitors. During the 1950s, the three skating Heiss siblings were featured in publications such as Life magazine.[4]

Results[edit]

Event 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960
Winter Olympics 2nd 1st
World Championships 4th 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
North American Championships 2nd 2nd 1st 1st
U.S. Championships 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st

References[edit]

  1. ^ "CAROL HEISS GAINS 3D WORLD CROWN IN FIGURE SKATING; Ozone Park Girl Adds to Her Compulsory Phase Lead in Free-Style Exhibition", The New York Times, February 16, 1958. Accessed November 11, 2007. "Carol Heiss of Ozone Park, Queens, Miss Personality of the ice, skated off with her third world figure skating championship tonight with a perfectly-executed freestyle exhibition."
  2. ^ Hughes, Sarah (May 8, 2012). "Hughes blog: Gracious Heiss goes into NYU hall". Ice Network. 
  3. ^ "The United States Championships", Skating magazine, March 1960
  4. ^ Heiss sibling photos

External links[edit]