Kenneth Shelley: Mormon Athlete

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Kenneth Shelley Mormon Athlete
pictured with skating partner JoJo Starbuck

Kenneth Shelley is a former Olympic figure skater. He competed in the 1968 Olympics held in Grenoble, France, and in the 1972 Olympics held in Sapporo, Japan. After his Olympic career, he skated professionally with the Ice Capades. He competed professionally and won the 1981 and 1983 World Professional Championships. He was inducted into the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1994.

Shelley was born on October 4, 1951, in California. He loved skating as a kid and was given ice lessons at a studio rink for his sixth birthday. He was first paired with JoJo Starbuck when he was seven years old. They both attended Downey High School and also performed with the school’s cheerleading squad. Shelley competed in both singles and pairs figure skating. At the 1972 Winter Olympics, he placed fourth as a single skater and as a pairs skater with JoJo Starbuck, he also placed fourth. At the 1968 Winter Olympics, Shelley and Starbuck placed 13th; at age 16 they were the youngest athletes the US had ever sent to the Olympics.

Shelley and Starbuck were three-time National Champions. As a single skater, he won the 1972 US Figure Skating Championships and his best finish as a single skater at the World Figure Skating Championships was seventh, also in 1972. He won two bronze medals with Starbuck at the World Figure Skating Championships.

Shelley also worked in theatrical management in Broadway shows and American Ballet Theatre. He owns a farm in upstate New York. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His great-great-grandfather, Jesse Nathaniel Smith, was a first cousin to the Prophet Joseph Smith.