Tara Skates Farewell With Scott Hamilton

001215 earlyshow tara lipinski CBS

After becoming the youngest person to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating, Tara Lipinski joined the pro ranks and has so far won every professional competition she's entered.

Friday night her attention will be focused on fellow skater Scott Hamilton in the prime-time CBS special called Farewell to Stars on Ice. Lipinski spoke with CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Jane Clayson from Wollman Rink in New York's Central Park.

"It's our 15th year. It's very special because it's Scott's last year and he's kind of saying farewell to all of us. It's a wonderful show," said Lipinski.

She said that Scott Hamilton has been part of the show from the very beginning. "I'm honored that I've had a chance to skate with him for three years on this tour," said Lipinski. Hamilton isn't giving up skating, just touring.

Lipinski said she learned how important the audience is from Hamilton.

"He's such a professional...Now I go out there every night and I have such a passion for it. I love performing."

Lipinski explained how her skating has evolved now that she skates professionally.

"It's a different kind of focus," she said "It's not about nine judges anymore. You really have to come out every year with something new and different and fun. That's what I've been trying to do."

One challenge Lipinski has had to face recently is hip surgery.

"It's been bothering me. It started before the Olympics. It got worse afterwards. It's been something that needed to be fixed. We didn't realize how bad. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. Hopefully, I'll come back strong," she said.

Lipinski, the youngest Olympic, World and U.S. National Ladies Figure Skating Champion in history, was born July 10, 1982 in Philadelphia. She was 14 when she broke Sonja Henie's long standing World Championship record, and 15 when she won the Gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Soon after winning the gold Lipinski surprised many by giving up her amateur status, and became a professional skater.

Lipinski currently lives with her parents and five dogs in Sugar Land, Texas, where she trains with her coach, Megan Faulkner.

In addition to skating, Lipinski has had acting roles in such television shows as Touched By An Angel, The Young and the Restless, and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

In Stars On Ice, which she joined in 1998, she is a co-headliner with fellow Olympic Gold medalists Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi, Ilia Kulik and World Champion Kurt Browning.

This year's tour begins Dec. 28th in Greensboro, North Carolina, plays in 65 cities. It plays in New York's Madison Square Garden March 3rd and winds up April 7th in Portland, Maine.

During the show Friday night, Tara will skate to the song, Dance With Me. The show was taped at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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