When she won a gold medal for figure skating at the 1998 Winter Olympics, then 15-year-old Tara Lipinski became the youngest individual gold medalist in Winter Olympic history. Lipinksi, now 31, joined HuffPost Live to talk about her momentous achievement.
When asked by host Ricky Camilleri what she felt when she won her medal, she said, "Relief. And shock. I really think I was in shock for a little bit because you think about this one goal every single day. You go to the rink and this is what you're thinking about. Then all of a sudden it happens and you're like 'wait, what? This is nuts.'"
"But obviously it was extremely special -- the entire Olympic experience was amazing. Not just the skating and the winning, but standing on the podium and watching your flag and listening to your anthem. It's incredible."
During the HuffPost Live discussion on how sports prodigies develop their skills, Lipinski said that her success came from a combination of natural ability and hard work.
"I feel that I was talented and had a natural ability to skate and to jump. I was tiny, which suits skating," she explained. "[But] working hard really makes the difference. I trained so many hours and I always felt that when I stepped off the ice, if I was skating a little bit harder or a little bit longer than somebody else, then I'd have the edge."
She also spoke about her attitude towards the sport. "Pretty much all sports, not just figure skating, when you're at this elite level, it's like a relationship -- it's a love-hate kind of relationship. And every day is not easy, but it's like family -- you're never going to walk away from it. So you have to push through those hard days, and obviously you want to win, but that comes later when you get to the competition. I feel you're in competition with yourself every day to be better."