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Carol Heiss Jenkins
Carol Heiss 1960.jpg
Carol Heiss in 1960
Personal information
Country represented  United States
Born (1940-01-20) January 20, 1940 (age 84)
New York City, U.S.
Former coach Pierre Brunet
Skating club Skating Club of New York
Retired 1960
Medal record
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold 1960 Squaw Valley Singles
Silver 1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo Singles
World Championships
Gold 1960 Vancouver Singles
Gold 1959 Colorado Springs Singles
Gold 1958 Paris Singles
Gold 1957 Colorado Springs Singles
Gold 1956 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Singles
Silver 1955 Vienna Singles
North American Championships
Gold 1959 Toronto Singles
Gold 1957 Rochester Singles
Silver 1955 Regina Singles
Silver 1953 Cleveland Singles

Carol Elizabeth Heiss Jenkins (born January 20, 1940) is an American former figure skater and actress. Competing in ladies' singles, she became the 1960 Olympic champion, the 1956 Olympic silver medalist, and a five-time World champion (1956–1960).



Heiss, a daughter of German immigrants, started skating as a six-year-old in New York. She was coached by Pierre Brunet. She first came to national prominence in 1951, when she won the U.S. novice ladies' title, at age 11. She won the U.S. junior ladies' title in 1952 and then moved up to the senior level in 1953. From 1953 to 1956, she finished second to Tenley Albright at the national championships. She competed with a slashed Achilles' tendon at the 1954 U.S. Championships.

Heiss was named in the U.S. team to the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. She won the silver medal, while Albright took the gold. However, at the following World Championships, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, West Germany, Heiss defeated Albright for the title; it was the first of her five consecutive world titles.

After the 1956 Winter Olympics, Heiss had offers to turn professional and skate in ice shows. But her mother, Marie Heiss, was quite ill with cancer at the time, and before her death in October 1956, she asked Carol to win a gold medal for her. Between 1957 and 1960, Heiss dominated women's figure skating like nobody since Sonja Henie. She was the World and U.S. Champion each year, and at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California, Heiss captured the gold medal, being ranked first by all nine judges. She also took the Olympic Oath as representative of the organizing country to open the 1960 games. By winning the 1960 World Championships held after the Olympics, Heiss became one of three women to have won five consecutive World Championships. She then retired from competitive skating.

In 1953, Heiss became the first female skater to land a double Axel jump. One of her trademarks was performing a series of alternating clockwise and counterclockwise single Axels. She normally rotated her jumps clockwise and spins counterclockwise; it is much more common for skaters to do both in the same direction (usually counterclockwise).

Heiss was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame.


Snow White and the Three Stooges-Promo3
Snow White Carol Heiss and Prince Charming Edson Stroll in Snow White and the Three Stooges, 1961

Heiss played the female lead in the 1961 film Snow White and the Three Stooges. In the late 1970s, she began coaching several skaters in Lakewood, Ohio. Her former students include Timothy Goebel, Tonia Kwiatkowski and Miki Ando.

Personal life

Carol Heiss was born on January 20, 1940, in New York City, and grew up in Ozone Park, Queens. Her younger sister and brother, Nancy Heiss and Bruce Heiss, were also elite figure skating competitors. During the 1950s, the three skating Heiss siblings were featured in publications such as Life magazine.

During her run of world titles, Heiss attended New York University, graduating after the 1960 Winter Olympics. In 1961, she married American figure skater Hayes Alan Jenkins, who had won the 1956 Olympic gold medal. They have three children together.


Event 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960
Winter Olympics 2nd 1st
World Championships 4th 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
North American Champ. 2nd 2nd 1st 1st
U.S. Championships 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Carol Heiss para niños

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