Pioneers: The First Skaters From Each Country To Compete At The Olympics

The rink at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, France

Without a doubt, some of the most memorable Olympic firsts have been figure skating ones. In St. Moritz in 1948, Barbara Ann Scott became the first North American woman to win the Olympic title. When Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean struck gold with their iconic "Bolero" in Sarajevo, they earned an unprecedented twelve perfect marks of 6.0. Four years later in Calgary, Debi Thomas became the first skater of colour to win an Olympic medal. In Vancouver in 2010, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir became the first ice dance team in history to win Olympic gold on home ice. Eight years later, they became the first dance duo to win two non-consecutive Olympic titles... and these firsts are just the tip of the iceberg! These milestones - and so, so many others - are part of the very fabric of our sport's rich history, but today I want to explore a part of skating history that has been sadly overlooked... the first skaters in each discipline to represent their country at the Olympics.

A couple of notes about this list:

- Firsts that are open to debate or have caveats are marked with a *, **, etc.  with notes below.
- Skaters who withdrew either before or during the past Olympics are not included, but skaters who were eliminated mid-way due to a short program cut-off are. The two pairs teams who slated to make history in Beijing as the first from their respective countries are included presumptively. Wondering who they are? Check out the listings for Spain and Belarus!


Horatio Tertuliano Torromé (1908)


Julia Lebedeva (2002)
Maria Krasiltseva and Alexander Chestnikh (1998)
Ksenia Smetanenko and Samuel Gezalian (1998)

Adrian Swan. Photo courtesy Elaine Hooper, BIS Archives.


Adrian Swan (1952)
Nancy Burley, Gweneth Molony (1952)
Jacqueline Mason and Mervyn Bower (1960)
Monica MacDonald and Rodney Clarke (1988)


Willy Böckl (1924)
Herma Szabo (1924)
Helene Engelmann and Alfred Berger (1924)
Susanne and Peter Handschmann (1980)

Yulia Vorobieva


Igor Pashkevich (1998)
Yulia Vorobieva (1998)
Inga Rodionova and Aleksandr Anichenko (1998)
Kristin Fraser and Igor Lukanin (2002)


Alexander Murashko (1994)
Julia Soldatova (2002)
Elena Grigoreva and Sergei Sheiko (1994)
Tatiana Navka and Samuel Gezalian (1994)

Georgette Herbos and Georges Wagemans. Photo courtesy Bibliothèque nationale de France.


Freddy Mésot (1924)
Yvonne de Ligne (1932)
Georgette Herbos and Georges Wagemans (1920)


Isadora Williams (2014)


Boyko Aleksiev (1988)
Petya Gavazova (1988)
Rumiana Spassova and Stanimir Todorov (2006)
Hristina Boyanova and Javor Ivanov (1984)

Susan Carscallen and Eric Gillies. Photo courtesy Library and Archives Canada.


Melville Rogers (1924)
Cecil Smith (1924)
Cecil Smith and Melville Rogers (1924)
Barbara Berezowski and David Porter, Susan Carscallen and Eric Gillies (1976)*

*Joni Graham and Don Phillips participated in the demonstration of ice dancing at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble.

Xi Hongyan and Zhao Xiaolei


Xu Zhaoxiao (1980)
Zhenghua Bao (1980)
Luan Bo and Yao Bin (1984)
Xi Hongyan and Zhao Xiaolei (1984)


David Liu (1988)
Pauline Chen Lee (1988)


Tomislav Čižmešija (1992)
Željka Čižmešija (1992)

Věra Hrubá


Josef Slíva (1924)
Věra Hrubá, Fritzi Metznerová (1936)
Libuše Veselá and Vojtěch Veselý (1928)
Eva Peštová and Jiři Pokorný (1976)


Tomáš Verner (2006)
Lenka Kulovaná, Irena Zemanová (1994)
Radka Kovaříková and René Novotný (1994)
Radmila Chroboková and Milan Brzý, Kateřina Mrázová and Martin Šimeček (1994)


Per Cock-Clausen (1948)
Anisette Torp-Lind (1992)


Margus Hernits (1994)
Olga Vassiljeva (1992)
Helene Michelson and Eduard Hiiop (1936)
Irina Shtork and Taavi Rand (2010)

Ludovika and Walter Jakobsson. Photo courtesy Sveriges Centralförening för Idrottens Främjande Archive.


Sakari Ilmanen (1920)
Leena Pietilä (1952)
Ludovika and Walter Jakobsson (1920)
Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko (1992)


Pierre Brunet, André Malinet (1924)
Andrée (Joly) Brunet (1924)
Simone and Charles Sabouret (1920)
Nathalie Hervé and Pierre Béchu (1984)


Vakhtang Murvanidze (2002)
Elene Gedevanishvili (2006)
Karina Safina and Luka Berulava (2022)
Allison Reed and Otar Japaridze (2010)

Jennifer Goolsbee and Henryk Schamberger


Paul Franke (1928)
Elsa Rendschmidt (1908)
Anna Hübler and Heinrich Burger (1908)
Jennifer Goolsbee and Hendryk Schamberger (1994)

*These skaters listed represented all represented a unified Germany. The first East German skaters to compete at the Olympics were Jan Hoffmann, Günter Zöller, Sonja Morgenstern, Gaby Seyfert, Irene Müller and Hans-Georg Dallmer and Heidemarie Steiner and Heinz-Ulrich Walther in Grenoble in 1968. An ice dance team never represented East Germany at the Olympics. The first skaters to represent West Germany at the Olympics were Jürgen Eberwein, Peter Krick, Monika Feldmann, Petra Ruhrmann, Eileen Zillmer, Margot Glockshuber and Wolfgang Danne, Gudrun Hauss and Walter Häfner and Marianne Streifler and Herbert Wiesinger in Grenoble in 1968. The first ice dancers were Henriette Fröschl and Christian Steiner in Lake Placid in 1980.


Arthur Cumming*, John Keiller Greig, Geoffrey Hall-Say*, Arthur Albert March (1908)
Dorothy Greenhough Smith, Gwendolyn Lycett, Madge Syers (1908)
Phyllis and James Henry Johnson, Madge and Edgar Syers (1908)
Kay Barsdell and Kenneth Foster, Hilary Green and Glyn Watts, Janet Thompson and Warren Maxwell (1976)**

*Arthur Cumming and Geoffrey Hall-Say competed in the Special Figures event at the 1908 Summer Olympic Games.
**Janet Sawbridge and Jon Lane, Yvonne Suddick and Malcolm Cannon and Diane Towler and Bernard Ford participated in the demonstration of ice dancing at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble.


Lidy Stoppelman (1952)

Olga Orgonista and Sándor Szalay. Photo courtesy National Archives Of Poland.


Elemér Terták, Dénes Pataky (1936)
Éva von Botond (1936)
Olga Orgonista and Sándor Szalay, Emília Rotter and László Szollás (1932)
Krisztina Regőczy and András Sallay (1976)*

*Edit Mató and Károly Csanádi participated in the demonstration of ice dancing at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble.


Ryuichi Obitani, Kazuyoshi Oimatsu (1932)
Etsuko Inada (1936)
Kotoe Nagasawa and Hiroshi Nagakubo (1972)
Noriko Sato and Tadayuki Takahashi (1984)

Michael Shmerkin


Michael Shmerkin (1994)
Aimee Buchanan (2018)*
Andrea Davidovich and Evgeni Krasnopolski (2014)
Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovski (1998)

*Aimee Buchanan represented Israel in the team event in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang. Israel has yet to have an entry in the women's singles event at the Olympics.


Carlo Fassi (1948)
Grazia Barcellona (1948)
Anna and Ercole Cattaneo (1936)
Stefania Bertele and Walter Cecconi, Matilde Ciccia and Lamberto Ceserani, Isabella Rizzi and Luigi Freroni (1976)

Marina Khalturina and Andrei Krukov


Yuri Litvinov (1998)
Aiza Mambekova, Elizabet Tursynbayeva (2018)
Marina Khalturina and Andrei Krukov (1998)
Elizaveta Stekolnikova and Dmitri Kazarlyga (1994)


Lee Kwang-Young (1968)
Kim Hae-Kyung, Lee Hyun-Joo (1968)
Kim Kyu-eun and Alex Kang-chan Kam (2018)
Yang Tae-hwa and Lee Chuen-gun (2002)


Verners Auls (1936)
Alise Dzeguze (1936)
Hildegarde Švarce-Gešela and Eduards Gešels (1936)

Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas


Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas (1992)


Patrick Schmit (1998)
Fleur Maxwell (2006)


Julian Yee Zhi-Jie (2018)


Walbe Olavarrieta-Navarro (1988)
Diana Encinas-Evans (1988)


Ho Kang (1988)
Kim Song-Suk (1988)
Ko Ok Ran and Kim Gwang Ho (1992)
Ryu Gwang Ho and Pak Un Sil (1992)

Alexia and Yngvar Bryn


Andreas Krogh, Martin Stixrud (1920)
Ingrid Guldbransen, Margot Moe (1920)
Alexia and Yngvar Bryn (1920)


Grzegorz Filipowski (1984)
Grażyna Dudek (1976)
Janina Poremska and Piotr Sczypa (1968)
Teresa Weyna and Piotr Bojanczyk (1976)


Michael Christian Martinez (2014)

Beatrice Huștiu. Video courtesy Frazer Ormondroyd.


Roman Turuşanco (1936)
Beatrice Huștiu (1968)
Irina Timcic and Alfred Eisenbeisser (1936)


Nikolay Panin-Kolomenkin (1908)**
Maria Butyrskaya, Elena Sokolova, Irina Slutskaya (1998)
Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, Natalia Mishkutenok and Artur Dmitriev, Evgenia Shishkova and Vadim Naumov (1994)
Oksana Grishuk and Evgeni Platov, Angelika Krylova and Vladimir Fedorov, Maya Usova and Alexandr Zhulin (1994)

*These skaters listed represented all represented Russia. The first skaters from the Soviet Union to compete at the Olympics were Ludmila (Belousova) and Oleg Protopopov and Nina and Stanislav Zhuk at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. The first singles skaters were Sergei Chetverukhin, Sergei Volkov, Galina Grzhibovskaya and Elena Shcheglova in Grenoble in 1968. The first ice dancers were Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov, Irina Moiseeva and Andrei Minenkov and Lyudmila Pakhomova and Aleksandr Gorshkov in Innsbruck in 1976, though Pakhomova and Gorshkov made their first appearance at the Olympics in 1968. They participated in the ice dancing demonstration, as did Irina Grishkova and Viktor Ryzhkin.
**Nikolay Panin-Kolomenkin competed in the Special Figures event at the 1908 Summer Olympic Games. Igor Pashkevich, Oleg Tataurov and Alexei Urmanov were the first to compete in the men's singles, in Lillehammer in 1994.


Trifun Zivanovic (2006)


Robert Kazimir (1998)
Zuzana (Paurová) Babiaková (2002)
Oľga Beständigová and Jozef Beständig (2002)
Lucie Myslivečková and Lukáš Csölley (2018)


Luka Klasinc (1992)
Mojca Kopač (1992)

Dino Quattrocecere


Dino Quattrocecere (1994)
Patricia Eastwood, Marion Sage (1960)
Marcelle Matthews and Gwyn Jones (1960)


Darío Villalba Flores (1956)
Gloria Mas-Gil (1980)
Laura Barquero and Marco Zandron (2022)
Sara Hurtado and Adrià Díaz (2014)

Elna Montgomery. Photo courtesy Sveriges Centralförening för Idrottens Främjande Archive.


Richard Johansson, Ulrich Salchow, Per Thorén (1908)
Elna Montgomery (1908)
Britta Lindmark and Ulf Berendt (1952)


Alfred Mégroz (1920)
Elvira Barbey (1928)
Elvira and Louis Barbey (1928)
Eliane and Daniel Hugentobler (2002)


Tugba Karademir (2006)
Alisa Agafonova and Alper Uçar (2014)

Oksana Baiul


Viktor Petrenko (1994)
Oksana Baiul, Lyudmila Ivanova, Elena Liashenko (1994)
Elena Belousovskaya and Igor Maliar (1994)
Svitlana Chernikova and Oleksandr Sosnenko, Irina Romanova and Igor Yaroshenko (1994)


Irving Brokaw (1908)
Theresa Weld Blanchard (1920)
Theresa Weld Blanchard and Nathaniel Niles (1920)
Judi Genovesi and Kent Weigle, Susan Kelley and Andrew Stroukoff, Colleen O'Connor and James Millns (1976)*

*Judy Schwomeyer and Jim Sladky participated in the demonstration of ice dancing at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble.

Roman Skorniakov 


Roman Skorniakov (1998)
Tatiana Malinina (1998)
Natalia Ponomareva and Evgeni Sviridov (2002)
Dinara Nurdbaeva and Muslim Settarov, Aliki Stergiadu and Juris Razgulajevs (1994)


Miljan Begovic (1984)
Sanda Dubravčić (1980)

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