Born in Oslo, Henie took the gold medal in the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Winter Olympics. She had earlier placed eighth in a field of eight at the 1924 Winter Olympics, at the age of eleven. During the 1924 program, she skated over to the side of the rink several times to ask her coach what to do next.
By the next Olympiad, she no longer needed to ask. She won her first of ten consecutive World Figure Skating Championships in 1927 at the age of fifteen, and her first Olympic gold medal the following year. She also won six consecutive European championships.
She is credited with being the first to adopt the short skirt costume in figure skating, and the first to make use of dance choreography.
She then went on to an extensive film career, retiring in 1958.