Raised in Sugarland, Texas, Tara Lipinski first attracted international attention when, at the age of 13, she qualified for the United States team at the 1996 world championships. She placed 15th, but the following year she caused a sensation when she finished first and became the youngest world champion in figure skating history. Still, when the 1998 Olympic Games came around, Lipinski was picked for the silver medal behind Michelle Kwan. Kwan led after the short programme, but Lipinski's exuberant long programme won her the first place votes of six of the nine judges and she edged ahead to take the gold medal. At the age of 15 years and 255 days, Lipinski became the youngest winner of an individual event in the history of the Winter Games, beating Sonja Henie's 70-year-old record by two months.