Sonja Henie (1912-69) was barely able to walk the first time she had skates screwed on to her boots. This made people notice her even then. Her father, Wilhelm Henie, did everything in his power to push his wonder child to the top. In 1924, he arranged for her to take part in the Olympic Games in Chamonix. She was eleven years old and the judges placed her last.
Her father was not pleased. Back in Norway, he prescribed harder training and new coaches. Two years later she was Norwegian champion.
In 1927, she won the World Figure Skating Championships in Oslo and the following year an Olympic gold medal in St. Moritz. She won a gold world medal every single year from then until 1936 and she defended her Olympic titles in 1932 (Lake Placid) and in 1936 (Garmisch-Partenkirchen). She turned professional in 1937.
This took her to Hollywood and to roles in eleven films between 1937 and 1958. In 1953 she joined the European Holiday on Ice tour. She married Norwegian shipowner Nils Onstad in 1956 and together they amassed a considerable art collection, which they donated to the B?rum municipal council along with money for a gallery.
The Henie Onstad Art Centre was opened just outside Oslo in 1968.