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Sonja Henie Biography

Early Advantages, Youthful Champion, Chronology, Turning Professional, Film Stardom, Awards And AccomplishmentsSELECTED WRITINGS BY HENIE:


Norwegian figure skater

During her lifetime Sonja Henie reigned as the "queen of ice," and today she remains the most influential individual to have been part of figure skating. During a career that spanned the 1920s, '30s, '40s, and '50s, the Norwegian skater made major contributions to women's figure skating, which would help propel the sport into the prominence it now enjoys as a dazzling, physically-challenging, personality-filled field. Henie is credited with many "firsts," including being the first international sports star, the first superstar among figure skaters, and the first—and still only—woman to win three Olympic gold medals in figure skating. Among her many victories as a competitive skater, she also won ten consecutive world championships. These honors were the result of talent, intensive training, and an interest in doing something different from other skaters. Henie is credited with transforming an originally demure, predictable activity by infusing it with her feminine charms and passion for the ballet. Short skirts and choreography were unknown in figure skating before Henie introduced them in the late 1920s. But Henie did not stop there. When she became a professional skater in 1936, she set her sights on movie stardom and quickly turned herself into a top box office draw. While also working as an ice show star and producer, she became a multi-millionaire

Sonja Henie

and easily eclipsed the earnings of any other star athlete, male or female.


Mitt livs eventyr, Oslo, Norway: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1938.

Wings On My Feet, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1940.

Sketch by Paula Pyzik Scott

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsFigure Skating