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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Smallest American Olympian stands tall
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com


February 20, 1998

Trailing favored Michelle Kwan after the short program, 15-year-old Tara Lipinski gives a brilliant freestyle performance and becomes the youngest ever to earn an Olympic gold medal in women's figure skating. Lipinski is two months younger than Sonja Henie was when she won the first of her three Olympic titles in 1928.

The smallest American Olympian at 4-foot-10 and 82 pounds, Lipinski is technically superior to Kwan, faster, more aggressive and more exuberant in her skating. She consumes the ice in Nagano, Japan, with the sheer delight of performing.

"It was amazing," Lipinski says of standing on the medal podium. "It went by so quick. I was happy, but a little sad, knowing I was going to have to get off. I couldn't think of anything wrong. Everything was perfect." Kwan, the 17-year-old silver medalist, says, "There's nothing more I could have done. It might not be the color medal I wanted, but I'll take it."





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