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Women of Wide World: Bonnie Blair
ABC Sports Online


Born into a family of speed skaters, Bonnie Blair was the best, winning five Olympic gold medals before retiring after the 1994 Games.

Bonnie Blair
Bonnie Blair won two gold medals at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway.
No woman had ever won consecutive 500-meter speed-skating championships at the Olympics before Blair won three straight. The 5-foot-4, 130-pounder also captured two 1,000-meter titles.

After being born in Cornwall, N.Y., Blair moved with her family to the Midwest and was raised in Champaign, Ill. She took to speed skating like her older siblings. But while skating eventually became secondary to them, Blair decided as a teenager to dedicate her life to the sport.

She made her Olympic debut in 1984 as a 19-year-old, finishing eighth in the 500.

In Calgary four years later, she not only won her first Olympic gold, she set a world record, blazing around the 500-meter oval in 39.10 seconds. She became the only double medalist for the U.S. at these Games by capturing the bronze in the 1,000.

At the 1992 Games in Albertville, France, she had 45 members of her "Blair Bunch" on hand to watch her win the 500 and 1,000.

More than 60 of the Blair Bunch traveled to Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994 to see history. Blair had the most fun when she added to her gold collection by winning her third straight 500, finishing in 39.25 seconds, a whopping 36-hundredths of a second ahead of the runner-up. In the 1,000, she became the first female five-time gold medalist from U.S. when she won the 1,000 meters by a startling 1.38 seconds, the largest margin in Olympic history for the event.

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