Ukrainian Figure Skater Who Won Olympic Gold at 16

Ukrainian Figure Skater Who Won Olympic Gold at 16

Who is Oksana Baiul?

Ukrainian retired competitive figure skater Oksana Serhiyivna Baiul-Farina was born in Dnipro, then-Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union on 16 November 1977, meaning that Scorpio’s her zodiac sign. She’s probably known best for having been the 1993 world champion in figure skating, as well as the 1994 Olympic champion; Oksana remains the only Ukrainian figure skater to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, and was the first Ukrainian competitor in general to become an Olympic champion. She moved to the US after 1994 and focused on her career as a professional skater.

Oksana’s also a bit of an actress, having appeared in three movies and two TV series.

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Education and early life

Oksana was raised an only child in Dnipro, a city known for making Soviet missiles, by her mother Marina who divorced Oksana’s father Sergey Baiul when Oksana was only two; Sergey then disappeared and wasn’t involved in Oksana’s upbringing. Marina died suddenly of ovarian cancer in 1991, and even though Oksana saw her father at the funeral, she refused to speak to him; Sergey died in 2006.

Oksana moved to Odesa in 1992, spending some time at the dormitory where all of her expenses were covered by the state because of her success in figure skating; the year 1993 saw her spend a month living with coach Galina Zmievskaya.

Career as a figure skater

Oksana wanted to pursue ballet while growing up, but was told that her body type wasn’t right; it was her grandmother who signed her up for skating lessons when Oksana was only three, and she was five when famous Ukrainian coach Stanislav Koritek began teaching her.

Stanislav moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada in March 1992 after having accepted a job there, and Oksana was then coached by Galina Zmievskaya, under whom she made rapid progress, although she was also coached by Valentyn Nikolayev.

Oksana competed at the 1993 European Championships in Helsinki, Finland and won a silver medal, with French figure skater Surya Varuna Claudine Bonaly winning gold. She suffered multiple injuries prior to winning the 1993 World Championships held in Prague, the Czech Republic, including displaced disks in her neck and back; Oksana was nevertheless able to finish ahead of Surya, winning first place in free skate and second in the short program.

She won another silver medal at the 1994 European Championships held in Copenhagen, Denmark as Surya won gold again; Oksana was second to perform behind American Nancy Kerrigan at the 1994 Winter Olympics, and had previously, during a practice session collided with Tanja Szewczenko from Germany, cutting her right shin which then required three stitches. She was given pain-killing injections so that she could compete, and was able to win gold, becoming one of the youngest Olympic gold winners; following her success, Oksana was named a 1994 Merited Master of Sports.

Moving to the US and further career

Oksana and her colleague Viktor Petrenko faced difficulties in Ukraine even though they were the country’s best figure skaters, mostly because of Ukraine’s economic crisis; Oksana’s coach Zmievskaya was able to negotiate a contract for her in the US – Oksana signed with William Morris Endeavor in May 1994.

Upon coming to America, Oksana began drinking alcohol excessively; she also suffered various physical problems, and in the summer of 1994 had to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery. Zmievskaya went to the US with Oksana, and was invited to coach at the International Skating Center, with both Oksana and Viktor becoming her trainees there; Oksana was to take part in the 1997 Champions on Ice tour, but was dropped because of her drinking problems. She stopped working with Zmievskaya and entered a rehab program, while she was then coached by Natalia Linichuk, but only occasionally skated professionally.

Oksana’s also made a number of TV appearances over the years, launching her acting career by playing Clara in the 1994 family musical movie “Nutcracker on Ice”. The year 1996 saw her play Dorothy in the family fantasy musical movie “The Wizard of Oz on Ice”, and in 1998, she appeared in the episode “Fans First” of the sports comedy series “Arli$$”. Oksana’s only other role has been playing Irina Kostrova in the 2001 episode “Accidents” of the drama “Strong Medicine”.

She launched her own line of jewelry and clothing in the early 2000s; in November 2005 starred in the reality show “Celebrity Poker Showdown”, and in November 2011, Oksana sued William Morris Endeavor for stealing money from her, and was able to collect close to $10 million.

She’s since been staying away from media, but has been involved with a number of charity organizations, including Tikva Children’s Home Charity and AIDS Resource Foundation for Children.

Love life and marriage

Oksana avoids speaking about her love life in public, but it’s known that she’s today married to her manager Carlo J. Farina.

It’s believed that the two exchanged vows in 2015, in a small and private ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada where the two are today living with their daughter Sophia, born in 2015. It was Carlo who discovered that Oksana’s talent agency William Morris Endeavor had defrauded her of millions of dollars.

Oksana’s yet to speak about other men whom she’s dated, she’s married to Carlo J. Farina as of May 2023, and they have a daughter together.

Interesting facts and hobbies

A movie about Oksana was released in 1994, entitled “A Promise Kept”, and Hawksley Workman released his song “Oksana” in 2019, which was featured on his album “Median Age Wasteland”.

She was mentioned in the episode “Wasted Talent” of the animated comedy series “Family Guy”.

Oksana was portrayed by Cassidy Balkcom in the 2017 movie “I, Tonya”, and could’ve been seen winning gold at the 1994 Winter Olympics in the film.

She’s a member of the International Museum of Women.

Oksana’s followed by close to 20,000 people on Instagram and has posted nearly 1,500 pictures onto the network; most of her content is related to figure skating.

Her favorite actress is Julia Roberts, and some of Oksana’s favorite films include “Grand Champion”, “Everyone Says I Love You” and “Satisfaction”.

Height, appearance and wealth

Oksana’s age is 45. She has blue eyes and blonde hair, is 5ft 4ins (1.64m) tall and weighs around 115lbs (52kgs).

Oksana’s net worth’s been estimated at over $20 million, as of May 2023.

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