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Ukraine’s First Olympic Star: The Beautiful Oksana Baiul

14. October 2009 by James 0 Comments

Ukrainian women are known for their beauty, grace, elegance, inner strength and athleticism. No one has lived up to this more than Olympic Gold Medalist Oksana Baiul. When she was just 16 years old, Oksana captivated hearts around the world with her moving performance at the 1994 Winter Olympics, winning Ukraine’s first Gold Medal as a sovereign nation.

 

Born to Skate

When she was just 3-years-old, her grandfather gave her the greatest gift she could ever receive, a pair of ice skates. Oksana had wanted to be a ballerina but was too little. By the age of 7, Oksana was already making an impression. She won her first competition and the Ukrainian Skating Federation saw her natural abilities and signed her.

 

In 1993, she won the World Figure Skating Championship, her first major skating championship. Her next victory was the Gold Medal at the Lillehammer Winter Olympics. Soon after her victory, she turned pro, signed a multi-million dollar contract and toured the world. Oksana has skated with tours such as Broadway on Ice, Champions on Ice, Stars on Ice and Ice Wars, just to name a few.

 

Hard Start

Like many Olympians, Oksana had a hard start to life. Born an only child in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, her parents divorced when she was a toddler. Reared by her mother and grandparents, she faced heartbreak when her grandparents died when she was 10. Then three years later, life played another cruel trick on her, when her mother was taken from her by ovarian cancer, and her coach immigrated to Canada. Oksana, who never knew her father or had contact with him, was left alone. Homeless, she took to sleeping on a cot at the rink. Soon her luck would change when the top figure-skating coach in the Ukraine Galina Zmievskay, took her in as one of his own children.

 

Variety of Life

Since turning pro she called the United States home but still visits the Ukraine from time to time to support various children’s charities. Oksana’s life story has been featured in several books and a made for television movie. She has graced countless magazine covers both in the Ukraine and the United States, and appeared as a fashion model during New York’s Fashion Week. Oksana still keeps her skates on the rink so to speak, by offering color commentary for the Winter Olympics and other figure skating broadcasts. Recently, she has co-produced the Ice Theatre of New York and is starring in a skating stage musical about international skating.

 

Oksana Baiul is one of Ukraine’s most beloved sports heroines for the way she persevered through all the tragic occurrences in her life. Yet, through it all, she still has the charm, grace and beauty that make her one of the most beautiful Ukrainian women in the world.