Carol Heiss was born to skate.
She took the ice as a youngster and at age 11 won the United States novice ladies’ title in 1951. Heiss won the U.S. junior title in 1952 and then moved up to the senior level, where she finished second in the national championships for four consecutive years.
Heiss finished second in the 1955 World Championships and first in 1956, finally beating her teammate Tenley Albright. Later that year, at the Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956 Winter Olympic Games, Heiss finished second to Albright.
But Heiss would not be a runner-up to Albright much longer as she soon dominated on the world stage.
Starting in 1957, Heiss won four consecutive U.S. championships and four consecutive World Championships.
At the Squaw Valley 1960 Winter Olympic Games, Heiss took the Olympic Oath to open the Games, then was ranked first by all nine judges as she captured the gold medal.
After winning the 1960 World Championships, Heiss returned to New York and was given a tickertape parade. Heiss retired from competition and married her sweetheart, 1956 figure skating gold medalist Hayes Alan Jenkins. She has been a longtime figure skating coach.