In 2005, Meissner became the second American woman to land the triple Axel jump in national competition. She was a member of the 2006 Olympic team and was the youngest American athlete to compete at those Games. She finished 6th at the Olympics in February 2006 and won the World Championships the following month.
She is a spokesperson for the Cool Kids Campaign, an organization that helps children with cancer.
Kimberly Meissner, nicknamed "Kimmie", was born in Towson, Maryland, to Judy (Roth) and Paul Meissner. She is the youngest of four children and the only girl. She is Catholic. Her maternal great-grandparents Paulina and Emmanuel Novo had emigrated separately from Spain during the 1920s. The latter was a fisherman from Galicia.
Meissner was a full-time student at Fallston High School, a public high school and graduated from there in May 2007. She entered the University of Delaware as a part-time student in the fall semester of that year. Meissner trained for most of her career in Newark, Delaware at the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club, the club she represents in competition. Until February 2008, Meissner lived in Maryland with her family, and lived at home while attending college. Following her coaching change after the 2008 U.S. Championships, Meissner moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
In the fall of 2009, Meissner moved back to Maryland. During 2010-2012, she attended the University of Delaware as a full-time student. She transferred to Towson University for the spring semester of 2013 and changed her major to English. She graduated in December 2014.
Kimmie Meissner began figure skating at age six after watching her older brothers playing ice hockey. She landed her first triple, a salchow jump, six years later.
In the 1999–2000 season, Meissner qualified for the U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships on the juvenile level, where she placed 16th. The following season, she repeated that placement, but on the Intermediate level. In the United States, Juvenile and Intermediate-level skaters compete at the U.S. Junior Championships, while Novice, Junior, and Senior-level skaters compete at the U.S. Championships.
In the 2002–03 season, Meissner placed second at her regional competition and won her sectional competition to qualify for the 2003 U.S. Championships on the novice level. At age thirteen, Meissner won the U.S. novice national title, after landing a triple lutz jump in her free skate. Following the 2003 U.S. Championships, Meissner was named to the team for the 2003 Triglav Trophy, where she won the bronze medal on the novice level.
From 2003 through 2008, Meissner was coached by Pam Gregory at the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club. She moved up to the junior level in the 2003–04 season. She won the silver medal at the first event of the 2003–04 ISU Junior Grand Prix series, in Sofia, Bulgaria. She went on to win the Junior Grand Prix event in Bled, Slovenia, which qualified her for the Junior Grand Prix Final, where she placed 5th. At the 2004 U.S. Championships, Meissner was second behind Katy Taylor after the short program, but won the free skate, after landing two triple lutzes, to win the Junior national title. At Nationals, Meissner was named to the U.S. team to the 2004 World Junior Championships, where she landed her first triple lutz-triple toe combination in competition and won the silver medal behind Miki Ando.
In the summer of 2004, Meissner began working on a triple Axel but stopped practicing the jump for two months due to a slight back injury. She moved up to the senior level nationally but remained a junior internationally. She was practicing four to five hours on most days. On the 2004–05 ISU Junior Grand Prix series, the first season the ISU Judging System was being used in junior competition, she won silver medals at the event in Courchevel, France and a second silver medal at the event in Long Beach, California. Meissner's two silver medals qualified her for the Junior Grand Prix Final in Helsinki, Finland, where she won the bronze medal, after placing seventh in the short program and second in the free skate.
On January 15, 2005, at the 2005 U.S. Championships, Meissner landed a triple axel jump, becoming only the second American lady to land the jump in competition, fourteen years after Tonya Harding became the first American lady to land the jump. Meissner won the bronze medal.
She was not age-eligible for the senior World Championships and so was named in the U.S. team for the 2005 World Junior Championships. Meissner placed third in the short program and fourth in the free, placing fourth overall. Afterwards, Meissner went to Worlds as a guest of ESPN and watched from the sidelines.
Kimmie Meissner moved to the senior level internationally beginning in the 2005–06 Olympic season. She made her Grand Prix debut at the 2005 Trophée Eric Bompard, where she placed sixth in the short program, fourth in the free skate, and fifth overall. She repeated that overall placement at her second event, the 2005 NHK Trophy, where she placed third in the short program and fifth in the free skate. At the 2006 U.S. Championships, Meissner won the silver medal and was named to the U.S. team to the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Meissner was the youngest athlete on the United States Olympic team. She spent the first week of the Games training in Courmayeur, moving to Torino proper a few days before the ladies event began. Meissner skated second in the short program and landed a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination to place fifth in that segment of the competition. Skating second-to-last in the final flight of the free skate, Meissner placed sixth in the free skate and overall.
Following the Olympics, Meissner returned to Baltimore. On the return flight, she partially ruptured one of her eardrums and fully ruptured the other. This affected her hearing as she trained for the 2006 World Championships, her first senior ISU Championship. At Worlds, Meissner placed second in her qualifying group and fifth in the short program, putting her in third place overall going into the free skate. During the free skate, Meissner completed seven triple jumps, including two triple-triple combinations, to win the title. This win made her the first woman since Kristi Yamaguchi to win a world title before a national title. Meissner is also the first woman to win Worlds on her first appearance since Oksana Baiul in 1993. She is the seventh-youngest ladies World Champion in history. Meissner has described this win as changing her career from being the underdog to being expected to win every competition she entered.
Meissner began the 2006–07 season at the 2006 Skate America, where she won the silver medal, the highest finish of her career until then at a Grand Prix event. At her second Grand Prix event, the 2006 Trophée Eric Bompard, she fell on a triple Axel attempt and placed third overall. At the 2007 U.S. Championships, Meissner went in as the favorite. She won the title, after winning the short program and placing third in the free skate. This made her the first ladies skater since Barbara Roles to win the national title on the Novice, Junior, and Senior levels.
After Nationals, Meissner went to the Four Continents Championships, a competition for senior-level skaters who are not from Europe, for the first time in her career. She fell on her triple-triple combination in the short program and was in sixth place going into the free skate. She won the free skate and the competition overall, becoming the first U.S. ladies champion to become the Four Continents Champion.
After Four Continents, Meissner competed at the 2007 World Championships. She achieved a new personal best for her short program where she placed fourth. She did not complete either of her triple-triple combinations in the free skating and placed third in that segment of the competition and fourth overall.
Meissner began the 2007–08 season by beating reigning World Champion Miki Ando at the 2007 Skate America. This was Meissner's first win the Grand Prix series. She then placed second at the 2007 Trophée Eric Bompard, qualifying her for the Grand Prix Final, where she placed sixth. At the time, she was skating on a sprained right ankle, an injury she sustained during a show.
Before the 2008 U.S. Championships, Meissner worked on her spins with Todd Eldredge. She placed 4th in the short program and 7th in the free after falling three times. She placed 7th overall and was selected for the U.S. team to the 2008 World Championships. After Nationals, Eldredge called her with more input on her spins and recommended his long-time coach Richard Callaghan. Meissner made the choice to switch coaches from long-time coach Pam Gregory to a temporary arrangement with Richard Callaghan in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She trained with Callaghan for the six weeks between Nationals and the 2008 World Championships.
At the 2008 World Championships, Meissner placed 9th in the short program and 12th in the long. She placed 7th overall and was the highest placed American in the competition. In the off-season, she toured with Stars on Ice and trained with both Callaghan and Eldredge.
Both Callaghan and Eldredge coached Meissner during the 2008–09 season. She began the season at the 2008 Skate America, where she placed 7th. She also placed 7th at the 2008 Cup of Russia. On January 19, 2009, Meissner announced her withdrawal from the 2009 U.S. Championships due to injury.
In the fall of 2009, Meissner moved back to Maryland. Chris Conte became her coach and also choreographed ice show programs for her. Meissner had been assigned to the 2009 Rostelecom Cup and the 2009 NHK Trophy for the Grand Prix season. She announced her withdrawal from both events on October 8, 2009 due to an injury to her right knee. Due to this, she did not receive a bye to the 2010 U.S. Championships and was too late to register to compete at the regional championships, thereby ending her season. She did not return to amateur competition. Commenting in July 2016, she said, "The injury wasn't devastating, but things in my personal life all happened at the same time."
Meissner continues to appear in ice shows and pro-am events. During the 2014–15 season, she performed as a full-time member for the US Stars on Ice tour.
When Meissner returned from the 2006 Olympic Games, a parade was held in her honor in her hometown of Bel Air. Following her win at the 2006 Worlds, the town gave one of its main roads, Pennsylvania Avenue, the honorary title of Kimmie Way. She threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Phillies opening day game, and a week later for her hometown team, the Baltimore Orioles, on April 14, 2006.
Following Meissner's win at the 2007 U.S. Championships, she signed endorsement deals with Subway, Under Armour, and Visa. She has appeared in Subway commercials, including a regional-Baltimore one following the 2006 Olympics, and a national one with Jared Fogle. She appeared in the Under Armour commercial shown during Super Bowl XLII. Meissner appeared in the music video for Speed Feels Better by Michael Tolcher wearing an Under Armour sweatshirt.
Following the 2006 World Championships, Meissner became a spokesperson for the Cool Kids Campaign, an organization for children with cancer. She designed gel bracelets for the organization as a fundraiser. On August 25, 2007, she put on a benefit show in Baltimore called "Kimmie's Angels on Ice" to benefit the charity. Meissner also co-edits the newsletter for the charity.
During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Meissner worked as a figure skating researcher for NBC Olympics.
GP: Grand Prix; JGP: Junior Grand Prix