From a very young age, Kit Klein was active in many sports, but eventually took up speed skating. In 1932, she took part in the demonstration speed skating events for women, which were conducted at the Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid. She reached the final – the events were conducted in mass start style – in two of the three events, taking third in the 500 and winning the 1,500 metres.
In 1936, Klein took part in the first official World Championships for women, held in Stockholm (she had also competed in the unofficial World Championships organized in Oslo in 1935, where she won the 1,000 m). After the first day, Klein led the field after winning both the 500 and 3,000 metres, the latter in a new World Record time of 6:12.0. After placing third in the 1,000, she was paired with second-placed Verné Lesche, who needed to win by almost 12 seconds on the final distance, the 5,000 m. Lesche seemed to successfully complete her mission, as Klein trailed her by half a lap after about 4,000 m. However, Klein closed down the gap to become the first official women’s World Champion.
After this title, Klein retired from skating by throwing her skates in the Atlantic Ocean on her way home from Europe. Klein’s titles also included four national and two North American titles (both indoor and outdoor) and two World Records. Klein later skated in an ice show (the Ice Follies) and married Dr. Outland.
|Games||Discipline (Sport) / Event||NOC / Team||Pos||Medal||As|
|1932 Winter Olympics||Speed Skating (Skating)||USA||Kit Klein|
|500 metres, Women (Olympic (non-medal))||3|
|1,000 metres, Women (Olympic (non-medal))||AC h1 r1/2|
|1,500 metres, Women (Olympic (non-medal))||1|