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Oksana Baiul

When Oksana Baiul was only three years old, her Grandfather gave her, her first pair of ice skates. They were a gift to make up for the fact that she was too young to take ballet lessons. Little did anyone know that by the time she was just seven years old, she would have already won her first of many competitions. The Ukrainian Skating Federation immediately took notice of her natural balletic style on the ice.

In 1994, at 16 years old, the whole world watched as Oksana captivated our hearts and won the Olympic Gold Medal, proving that she is the best in the world. Soon after Oksana moved to the United States, turned professional and Barbara Walter's named her "One of the 10 Most Fascinating Personalities of 1994."

Oksana's life reads with all the twists and turns of a Dickens' novel. Born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, she was the only child of parents who divorced when she was two. Her father faded out of her life, leaving her mother and her grandparents to raise Oksana. When Oksana was 10, her grandparents died. Tragically, three years later, her mother died of ovarian cancer. Soon after, Oksana's coach immigrated to Canada and Oksana was totally alone.

Since her victory in Lillehammer, Oksana has kept busy participating in figure skating tours and competitions around the country, including Champions on Ice, Stars on Ice, CBS Sports Ice Wars, CBS Sports Olympic Winterfest, the Goodwill Games, Celebration of Gold and Hallmark Skaters' Championship to name a few. Additionally, Oksana's life story was depicted in a CBS TV movie, A Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story and she has published two books, Secrets of Skating/Oksana Baiul (Universe Publishing, 1997) and Oksana; My Own Story (Random House, 1997). Oksana has been profiled in several televised biographies including Lifetime Television's, Intimate Portrait (1998) and A&E's Biography (2003).

In late September, 2003, Oksana Baiul returned to her hometown of Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine to meet her grandmother and father for the first time. Her heartfelt story was featured on the ABC News magazine show 20/20 with Elizabeth Vargas in March 2004. The story was also featured in People Magazine in the November 2003 issue.

Oksana also owns her own clothing line called the Oksana Baiul Collection, a figure skating apparel line created and designed by Oksana herself.

Currently, Oksana can be found on the ice training with long-time coach, Valentin Nikolayev preparing for her upcoming skating season and touring with Stars on Ice. Oksana resides in New Jersey.

Susan Cheyney

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