Education Centennial High School
Name Bonnie Blair
Spouse Dave Cruikshank (m. 1996)
Career end 1995
Turned pro 1984
Career start 1984
|Born March 18, 1964 (age 51) (1964-03-18) Cornwall, New York|
Olympic medals Speed skating at the 1992 Winter Olympics
Similar People Dan Jansen, Eric Heiden, Christa Luding‑Rothenburger, Karin Enke, Monique Garbrecht‑Enfeldt
Bonnie blair olympic legend part 9 lillehammer 1994 olympic film olympic history
Bonnie Kathleen Blair (born March 18, 1964) is a retired American speedskater. She is one of the top skaters of her era, and one of the most decorated athletes in Olympic history. Blair competed for the United States in four Olympics, winning five gold medals and one bronze medal.
- Bonnie blair olympic legend part 9 lillehammer 1994 olympic film olympic history
- Bonnie blair on what it feels like to win a medal
- Early life
- Early career and first Olympics
- Olympic medalist
- 1994 Olympics
- Outside the Olympics
- Awards and honors
- Personal life
Bonnie blair on what it feels like to win a medal
Blair was born in Cornwall, New York to Charlie and Eleanor Blair. She was the youngest of six children. The family moved Champaign, Illinois when Bonnie was a toddler. Already a hobby for her siblings, Bonnie first tried skating at age two. She participated in her first skating meet at age 4. She attended Jefferson Middle School and later Centennial High School in Champaign
At age 15, Blair tried out for the national team, earning a spot on her first attempt. With her increased focus on the 1984 Olympics, Blair went to train in Europe. She completed her high school diploma through the mail in 1982. She moved to the Milwaukee area to train with the United States national speed skating team, living with a family friend while she trained.
Early career and first Olympics
Blair appeared at her first Olympic games at age 19 in Sarajevo in 1984. Blair was not considered a front-runner and later recalled she was happy just to be at the games and see her family in the stands. She failed to medal but finished eighth in the 500 meters. Blair trained in both short-track and long-track. Blair won events at 1984, 1985 and 1986 short-track world championships and was the 1986 overall short-track world champion.
At the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Blair had her best start ever in the 500 meters, winning the gold medal in world record time of 39.10 seconds. She also won the bronze in the 1,000 meters.
Blair won the gold in both the 500 and 1,000 meters (1:21.90) at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.
Blair took advantage of a change of Olympic rules. In 1986, the International Olympic Committee voted to stage the Winter Olympics and Summer Olympics in alternating four year cycles. Thus, the next Winter Games would be held in February 1994 rather than in February 1996. The 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, were a coronation of sorts for Blair: She again won gold in the 500 meters (39.25) and 1,000 (1:18.74) meters races, in dominating fashion. Blair finished 0.36 seconds ahead of the second best time in the 500 meters, and her 1.38 second margin in the 1,000 meters race is the largest margin of victory in the history of the event. In the process she became the first American woman to win five gold medals. She also was the only American to have 6 medals at any Winter Olympics, a record that stood until short-track speed skater Apolo Ohno surpassed it at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Outside the Olympics
After the 1994 Olympics, Blair continued to compete. In March 1994, Blair set another world record in the 500 meters, becoming the first female to complete the race in under 39 seconds (38.99). Blair continued on to the 1995 World Championships in her adopted home town of Milwaukee. The Blair Bunch, the name given to Blair's family and friends, accounted for 12% of the crowd at the Pettit National Ice Center. There, Blair won the 500 meters with a time of 39.54 seconds. On March 18, 1995, she retired.
Blair also tried track cycle racing, and was coached by former speed skater and cycling world champion Connie Paraskevin.
Blair also competed in short-track speed skating, becoming the Overall Short-track World Champion in 1986.
As of 2014, Blair worked as a motivational speaker and corporate spokesperson. That same year she was a member of the U.S. Olympic delegation to Sochi.
Awards and honors
She is a member of the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame and the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2004, she was elected to the United States Olympic Hall of Fame. At the time of her induction, Blair was the most decorated United States Winter Olympian of all time with 5 gold and one bronze (she is currently third to Apolo Ohno who has 2 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze if equality of medals irrespective of color is applied). She was awarded a star (#7) on The Flag for Hope on September 29, 2015 in recognition of her outstanding Speed Skating Career and philanthropic efforts.
In 1992, Blair became the third winter athlete to win the Sullivan Award. Blair won the 1992 Oscar Mathisen Award (being the first female winner of this award). She also was Female Athlete of the Year as selected by the Associated Press in 1994. Blair also won the World Cup points championship 11 times. Sports illustrated named Blair their Sportswoman of the Year for 1994.
Blair began dating fellow Olympic speedskater Dave Cruikshank in 1990. The pair married in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1996. Blair and Crikshank have two children: a son, Grant, and daughter, Blair.