Courtesy of Tony Duffyas told to Florence Kane, Vogue
In honor of the upcoming summer games, we caught up with eight former U.S. Olympic champions. In this series, they share their fondest memories of everything it took to win the gold.
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I'd had short hair my whole life. It was more practical for skating. I was always trying to find somebody who'd give me a stylish cut other than that Dutch bowl. (Once I went to a salon in London while I was touring and had my hair cut by this gentleman who'd cut Julie Andrews's hair. I was a big fan of hers. He did it so it was an inch long all the way around and I remember going outside and just crying.) For a couple of years I'd tried to get an appointment with this adorable, wonderful hairstylist, [Yusuke] Suga. Before the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, my father called the salon manager and asked if Suga could cut my hair. Suga was brilliant, a master at the precision cut, and, as it turned out, a huge fan of figure skating. He had a way of doing my hair so that it fell back into place when I skated. It was a complete shock when it became such a fad.
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What I loved about the Olympics was that there was an indescribable sense of camaraderie across all winter sports, not just skating. After a great short program competition-to be followed by long program and compulsory figure-I thought, as long as I don't make a mess of this, I can hold onto the gold. In those days, we didn't have to do all those crazy, difficult moves-triples and all that. But I didn't want to play it safe. That's when you make mistakes. And it was the knockdown, drag-out performance of all time for me. We didn't have computers in those days, so my father was doing the math. He kind of winked at my coach, Carlo, and said, "She got it." But I never believed it until I heard it from the officials.
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Standing on top of the podium, I had the overwhelming sense of, "Oh my gosh. I did it. It's over. What now?" We had a little celebration afterward with all the medalists from the team. Then my sister, Marcia, and I went into the bathroom. She looked at me and said, "You won!" And we both screamed at the top of our lungs.
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