Carol Heiss

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameCarol Elizabeth•Heiss (-Jenkins)
Used nameCarol•Heiss
Born20 January 1940 in New York, New York (USA)
AffiliationsSkating Club of New York, New York (USA)
NOC United States


Carol Heiss can boast of the best competitive record in international competition for any American woman. She first competed in the World Championships in 1953, aged only 13, and finished fourth. In 1955 she was runner-up to Tenley Albright, but from 1956 until 1960 she was World Champion. Heiss finished second to Albright at the 1956 Olympics, but defeated her at the Worlds only a few weeks later She never again lost, adding the U.S. title in 1957-60 and the North American title in 1957 and 1959. At Squaw Valley she was chosen to speak the oath of the athlete’s at the opening ceremonies. Her victory that year was a foregone conclusion and shortly thereafter, she retired from amateur skating. Heiss was one of the prettiest of figure skaters, and it was thought she would be a big draw in a professional ice show. But she had delayed the move to keep a promise to her mother, who had died in October 1956. Before her death, she made Carol promise not to turn professional until she won the Olympic gold medal. That accomplished, she took her talents to amateur ice shows and also made a movie, appearing as Snow White in an icy adaptation of that classic, but her professional career was relatively short. She never skated professionally. In 1961 she married 1956 gold medalist Hayes Jenkins. Heiss was out of skating for over 20 years, but in the 1980s returned to the sport as a well-known coach.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1956 Winter Olympics Figure Skating (Skating) USA Carol Heiss
Singles, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver
1960 Winter Olympics Figure Skating (Skating) USA Carol Heiss
Singles, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold

Olympic family relations

Special Notes