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Sonja Henie was born in Oslo, Norway in 1912, to a wealthy family. When she was six, she was given ice skates and she started figure skating, but as a teen she was also a nationally-ranked tennis player and a skilled swimmer and equestrienne! At 9, she won the senior Norwegian skating championships and at 11 she placed eighth (in a field of eight) at the 1924 Winter Olympics, but beginning in 1927 (when she was 14) she won ten World Figure Skating Championships, and six consecutive European championships, and the Olympic Gold medals in figure skating in 1928, 1932, and 1936, one of the greatest dominations of any sport ever! She was also the youngest Olympic skating champion (she was 15 when she first won) until 1998, when Tara Lipinski broke that record. In the early 1930s, she appeared all over Europe, including Germany, and she met with Hitler several times. In 1936 at an exhibition, she greeted him with the Nazi salute, for which she was denounced. She also kept an autographed photo of her and Hitler prominently displayed in her home in Oslo. After her third Gold Medal, Henie turned pro, and organized an ice show in Hollywood, part of her desire to become a movie star (despite her having a thick accent). Darryl Zanuck signed her to a contract with 20th Century Fox and she was paid $400,000 for her first movie, One in a Million. She made five more movies in the 1930s, and co-owned and starred in the Hollywood Ice Revues, and between those and her endorsements she made around two million dollars a year! Henie became a U.S. citizen in 1941, and she continued with ice shows all the way to 1956, when she finally retired, extremely wealthy. She had married three times, the third time in 1956 to an extremely wealthy Norwegian ship owner, Niels Onstad, who loved modern art, and together they formed one of the greatest art collections in the world. Henie passed away in 1969 at the age of 57 from leukemia. She was a great businesswoman, and she was one of the ten wealthiest women in the world at the time of her death. Her husband died 9 years later, and their art collection was preserved in the Henie-Onstad Art Centre, in Oslo, and they are both buried on a hill overlooking the museum.
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