Five Questions for Peggy Fleming

The Olympic gold medal winner and ABC sports analyst chats with TFK Kid Reporter Gabrielle Healy

Sep 29, 2010 | By TFK Kid Reporter Gabrielle Healy
TFK Kid Reporter Gabrielle Healy and Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming
COURTESY HEALY FAMILY
TFK Kid Reporter Gabrielle Healy and Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming

TFK:

How do you keep the sport of figure skating alive in the eyes of young people?

FLEMING:

When young people can see someone having fun and having the freedom to skate to music and accomplish all the different jumps and spins and having the confidence to get out there and perform in front of many people, I think that's got to be inspiring for a young kid that's interested in the sport.

TFK:

Who is your mentor or role model and why?

FLEMING:

I didn't have just one person who was my role model. I had images of ballet dancers. I had images of really powerful skaters. I had visions of skaters who made things look effortless. I had these combinations of people that made me have my own identity, my own style. I also wanted to skate really quietly. I didn't like to hear the edges. I wanted it to be quite—as if you were floating and you weren't interrupting the music. I think it looked more effortless that way.

TFK:

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a skater?

FLEMING:

I think the longevity of my career. I was only 19 when I won and now I'm 62, and I'm still involved in our sport. I've learned a lot of different things from the sport. I learned how to take care of my health. I learned how to keep myself physically fit. I also learned to be mentally strong to be able to get up with confidence and skate in front of people and go on television and cover figure skating for the past 28 years with ABC Sports. I learned a lot about myself, and confidence was the best thing. Anybody that takes up a sport learns about herself. Whether you win or lose, you always walk away learning something about yourself.

TFK:

What does the gold medal you won at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, mean to you? How did you do it?

FLEMING:

It's a feeling of accomplishment. It was a very scary thing to be able to go and do because you're thinking something's going to happen. But I didn't let that go into my head. I just thought 'I'm going to do my best. That's all I can do, and everything will fall into place.' I got into my calm space and I thought of all those times that I practiced and that it's just one more time to go out and do it.

TFK:

How do you balance your career and your family life?

FLEMING:

I'm very aware of it and I live by my calendar. I make sure that I'm not gone for long lengths of time. I don't want to miss important things that are happening at home. I try to juggle my schedule so I do have that balance. I have my career. But I'm also fulfilled being a wife and a mother and a grandmother. I have all these sections of my life and it's wonderful.