History's Women: Women in Sports: Janet Lynn Nowicki - U.S. Figure SkaterJanet Lynn Nowicki
U.S. Figure Skater
Born April 6, 1953

Janet Lynn Nowicki is a five-time US National Champion figure skater, whose career began almost as soon as she could walk. Performing in her first exhibition at the age of four in her home state of Illinois, Lynn quickly advanced in the ranks and by the time she was seven, she was spending part of the year away from her family – training to become a figure skater. Her coach, Slavka Kohout, led Janet to become the youngest skater to pass the tough United States Figure Skating Associating physical test at age 11, and then by the time she was 13 she was winning Junior Championships across the country in California.

Lynn, who changed her name from her original last name Nowicki due to its often misspelling, was known for attempting and achieving different jumps that were rarely performed by women on the ice. In her first US Junior Ladies Championship, she landed a triple salchow jump, and was also one of the first females to feature a triple toe loop in her programs.

By age 14, Lynn was competing and placing at the international level, finishing 9th at the 1968 Winter Olympics after a bronze finish at the US Championships qualified her for the trip to Grenoble, France. In 1972, Lynn worked her way to a bronze at the Olympics in Sapporo, Hakkaidō, Japan. The journey to the bronze was disappointing for Lynn, though, who believed she was capable of achieving Olympic Gold, only to fall short to her adversaries – Trixi Schuba, and Karen Magnussen.

After another bronze finish behind Schuba and Magnussen at the ’72 World Championships, Lynn would find herself out of amateur figure skating by the end of 1973.

Professionally, Lynn’s popularity allowed her to sign a three-year contract for $1,455,000 with the Ice Follies – making her the highest-paid female professional athlete of the time. However, her professional career was cut short due to health concerns, and in 1975 she retired from skating.

Since her retirement, Lynn has found enjoyment working as a Christian motivational speaker.


Alex Brasky

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