Tara Lipinski — The Olympic Gold Medalist, Then and Now

Tara Lipinski reminded us that dreams do come true when she became the youngest-ever Winter Olympic Gold Medalist in 1998 — 16 years ago! At the time, she was just 15 years old. Even before the hardware, she was the youngest person to ever win the U.S. and World Figure Skating Championships, at just 14. For those of us who were kids ourselves at the time, she was totally our hero.

Soon after winning gold, Tara went professional — which is a tougher decision than it sounds. In a nutshell, it meant she couldn't compete in the Olympics anymore. The choice, she says, came down to going for another gold, or keeping her family together, since her frequent traveling kept her mom on the road and her dad back at home.

''When I came back from the Olympics, having my mom and dad together, going to movies and malls, was such a relaxed feeling. I don't want to be 22 and not know my dad," Tara admitted to the Today Show at the time. "They gave up so much for me to get this gold medal. I could go back and try to get another one, but it would be greedy for me to have them live apart another four years.''

Tara stayed on our radar with guest spots on TV shows, including appearances on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Malcolm in the Middle, 7th Heaven, and Are You Afraid of the Dark? Basically, the girl is a late-’90s legend!

What is Tara up to now? Click through for the reveal!

02.11.2014 / 12:00 AM EDT by Sarah Anne Lloyd
Related: Olympics, Celebrity Transformation, Features, TV Nostalgia

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