Frank Carroll, beloved Olympic figure skating coach, dead at 85

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Frank Carroll, a Hall of Fame coach and prominent figure in the world of figure skating, died on Sunday. He was 85. 

U.S. Figure Skating put out a statement on social media to confirm the news of Carroll’s passing. 

Gracie Gold talks with coach Frank Carroll prior to her performance in the ladies short program during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Sprint Center on Jan. 19, 2017, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

“U.S. Figure Skating mourns the loss of coaching legend Frank Carroll. A member of the World and U.S. Figure Skating Halls of Fame, Frank was instrumental in the careers of numerous Olympic and World champions and many future Hall of Famers.” 


Carroll, a Massachusetts native, coached several great Olympians, including Michelle Kwan, Evan Lysacek, Timothy Goebel and Gracie Gold. He died in Palm Springs, California, on Sunday after a battle with cancer, USA Today reported. 

“For over 10 years Frank was by my side – coaching and mentoring me to be the best skater and person that I can be,” Kwan said of Carroll in a text to USA Today’s Christine Brennan. 

“He bestowed upon me a wealth of knowledge and history of the sport he loved so much,” she continued. “Off the ice and over the years, he became much more than just a coach. I know he’s changed the lives of thousands of skaters for the better, and I’m grateful that I’m one of them and I wouldn’t be here without his guidance. I love and miss Frank very much.”

Michelle Kwan and Frank Carroll celebrate

Michelle Kwan reacts to her scores with coach Frank Carroll after the women’s short program at the 2001 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Fleet Center in Boston. (Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT)


Lysacek, who became the first athlete Carroll coached to an Olympic gold medal, remembered his coach fondly in a statement to NBC Sports. 

“Frank taught me and shaped me, as an athlete and as a person. Although he said several times that he didn’t much care about winning an Olympic Gold, I wanted it for him,” Lysacek said in part.  

“Frank coached so many great champions in our sport, all of whom I admire and respect. I WAS NOT one of the best or most talented skaters that Frank ever coached, but he rarely ever talked to me about how to be great… he only talked to me about how to win. My motivation to win Olympic gold became as much about Frank as it was about my country.”

Frank Carroll watches warm ups

Frank Carroll watches Timothy Goebel warm up for the men’s free program during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in Utah on Feb. 12, 2002. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)


Carroll coached for nearly 60 years before announcing his retirement in 2018. He was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1996, the Professional Skaters Association Hall of Fame in 2002, and the International Skating Institute Hall of Fame in 2006. 

He has coached 10 world champions, and is just one of three coaches to have ever coached both ladies’ and men’s senior world champions in the same year. 

Before he was a coach, Carroll was a figure skater himself. He was coached by Olympic medalist Maribel Vinson Owen, who tragically died in the 1961 plane crash that claimed the lives of the entire American figure skating team aboard. 

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