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Peggy Fleming – Olympic Gold Medalist, Icon, Breast Cancer Survivor, and Vintner!

I was still in diapers when Peggy Fleming competed in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland and then went on to place sixth in the 1964 Olympics at the age of 15, but I was definitely old enough to catch the magic and national pride, in color no less, as she won the Olympic Gold Medal in Grenoble, France, in 1968! Check out this video of Peggy skating her gold medal routine at the U.S. National Championship in 1968.

I couldn’t find a good quality video of her skating in the 1968 Olympics, but if you want to see the highlights and watch her receive the gold in her awesome chartreuse outfit and puffy 60’s hairdo, then you’ll want to watch this video!

Did you know that her gold medal in Grenoble was the only gold medal that the U.S. Olympic team won in the 1968 Winter Games?  Imagine the media frenzy that would cause today!

I grew up watching Peggy on TV specials (she was on an episode of Fantasy Island – how cool is that!) and every year when my parents took me to see the Ice Follies for my birthday!  I loved watching her glide across the ice with such grace and beauty, and I felt a mystical kinship with her when she did her solo skate in that magical blue lighting to the music of “Ave Maria.”  Yep, she was a role model, not only for women figure skaters, but for me and countless other women, both then and today.

In 1999, Peggy was honored at the Sports Illustrated 20th Century Awards along with a group of seven other elite athletes (including Billie Jean King) that were named “Athletes Who Changed the Game,” for the extraordinary impact that they had on their sports.

Exactly 30 years to the date of her Olympic gold, Peggy underwent successful surgery for breast cancer and today is an inspiring breast cancer activist, informing women about the importance of early detection and living a healthy lifestyle.  If you don’t watch any of the videos on this page, please take a few minutes and listen to her inspiring words about a woman’s power to prevent breast cancer: A Golden Moment Speech.

So, if winning a gold medal and conquering breast cancer are not enough to qualify in my book as a woman who rocks, Peggy and her husband also make wine and own and operate Fleming Jenkins Vineyards & Winery in Los Gatos, California!  She is living one of my dreams! The winery produces close to 2,000 cases of wine per year, with profits from one of the wines going towards charities that support breast cancer research.  I love drinking wine for a good cause!

Today Peggy’s interests are focused on health issues: fitness, eating healthy, and balance, she feels, are the keys to living a vital and satisfying life. Peggy – I couldn’t agree more.

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2 People have left comments on this post

» Kate DuBois said: { Mar 20, 2010 - 8:32 AM }

Maria, thanks for highlighting Peggy Fleming's commitment to breast cancer prevention. She is a definitely a woman who rocks for me too. I saw her speak at a women's health fundraiser in San Diego and she was amazing. Another woman who rocks whom you may be interested in profiling is Kathy Delaney-Smith, head coach of Harvard University's women's basketball team, who also survived breast cancer. She's profiled in a new documentary film “Act as If” that was created by one of her former basketball players Melissa Johnson, who has gone on to great media success. (Actually, her story is really interesting too. PS. So is yours. Loved your “About” page info too.)

» MariaSantoferraro said: { Mar 20, 2010 - 3:29 PM }

Kate – thanks for the tip on Kathy Delaney-Smith and Melissa Johnson. “Act as If” looks great!

I really like getting suggestions like these! Women Rock!