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Sonja Henie: The Esther Williams of Ice Skating

With the Winter Olympics in full swing it’s a great time to talk about 1930s skating and movie star Sonja  Henie.

Sonja Henie

Henie was a Norwegian skater who won pretty much everything in ice-skating from 1927 to 1936 back in the days when figure skating competitions took place on frozen lakes rather than ice rinks (see the footage at the bottom of the page). She was a three-time Olympic Champion (1928, 1932, 1936), a ten-time World Champion (1927–1936) and a six-time European Champion (1931–1936). She is one of the few Olympic stars, along with Esther Williams, who made the transition from sport to Hollywood.

Here she is skating in all her Hollywood Glory. Does anyone know which movie this was from?

She retired from professional ice skating in 1936 and was signed to Twentieth Century Fox in one of the highest paid contracts of the time. Her Hollywood acting career along with popular ice dancing shows and numerous product endorsements made her one of the richest women in the world at the time.

Sonja Henie Sonja Henie

She was just 15 in the footage below. It’s amazing to see ice dancing outside on a frozen lake, I can’t help but think it would be more spectacular if they did that now!

Image source and copyright: 1: This image is in the public domain because the copyright of this photograph, registered in Argentina, has expired, 2: This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired, 3: This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 with a copyright notice, and its copyright was not renewed.

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