Blessed with a boy-next-door charm, Paul Wylie became an ice-skating inspiration to many thanks to his Olympic success. Born Oct. 28, 1964 in Dallas, TX, Paul Stanton Wylie grew up devoted to his figure skating training and studied under the famed coach Carlo Fassi, who counted Olympic gold medalists Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming among his students. Demonstrating an innate talent, Wylie won the 1981 World Junior Championships and simultaneously pursued singles and pairs figure skating careers. He eventually turned his full focus to singles but struggled to break out of the mid-level as an adult skater, stalling at fifth place four times at the U.S. Nationals. Although he won silver at the 1988 Nationals, he failed to impress at the 1988 Winter Olympics, taking 10th place, or the World Championships, where he took ninth. Still hovering around the middle tier, Wylie was all but discounted as a legitimate contender for the 1992 Winter Olympics, so much so that several stories ran before the sports cycle questioning his ability. Wylie shocked the world, however, by winning the Olympic silver medal and saw his profile majorly boosted by his all-American charisma, Cinderella story and his are-they-or-aren't-they friendship with up-and-coming skater Nancy Kerrigan, who took bronze. A Harvard graduate, the clean-cut, passionately religious Wylie turned pro and maintained a lower-level wattage of stardom, going on to work for such wholesome companies as The Walt Disney Company as well as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
By Jonathan Riggs