Figure Skating: Back On Top

How the carefree sprite Tara Lipinski upset Michelle Kwan to take the gold and break Sonja Henie's 70-year-old Olympic record as the youngest winner

"Mom, I'm scared." The uncharacteristically anxious words came out of Tara Lipinski less than two hours before her final program. Uncharacteristic because her legend is so well known: a toddler, transfixed by the star-spangled anthem blaring from the TV, stages her own Olympic ceremony --with an overturned Tupperware container for a podium, some ribbon and dried flowers.

On Friday, over a meal of spaghetti in her parents' hotel room, the 15-year-old just wanted her mother's comfort. "It's O.K. to be scared. It's good to be scared," said Pat Lipinski. "But you can do it." After that, Tara was back in character...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!