Karen Diane Magnussen-Cella is a Canadian former figure skater, 1972 Olympic silver medalist, and 1973 World Champion. She was born on April 8, 1952 in Vancouver to a middle-class family with a Swedish mother and Norwegian father. She has two sisters, Lori, three years younger, and Judy, six years younger. After being introduced to the ice skating at age six when her mother, a recreational skater, brought her to a general skating session, Karen Magnussen then kept asking for more opportunities to skate. Recalling lessons on pebbly curling ice at the Kerrisdale Arena, she commented, "The ice was anything but perfect, but I think that made you tough." Her first coach was Hellmut May. Linda Brauckmann became her coach in 1965. Magnussen's career at the elite level of skating began when she won the Canadian national junior title in 1965. Moving up to the senior level the next year, she became known for her strong free skating ability, and was even compared to then-reigning world champion Petra Burka. Her march upwards in the skating rankings continued as she qualified to compete at the World Championships for the first time in 1967 and won her first Canadian title in 1968. She was sent to the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France and placed seventh. In 1969, Magnussen lost her Canadian title to Linda Carbonetto. Magnussen was diagnosed with stress fractures in both legs in February 1969, spent three months in a wheelchair, and returned to the ice in mid-May. She watched the 1969 World Championships from a wheelchair. Magnussen studied kinesiology at Simon Fraser University (SFU), enrolling in 1970. She went on to win the Canadian Championships four more times, from 1970 to 1973. At the World Championships, she won a bronze medal in 1971 and then silver in 1972. Magnussen was granted free early morning ice time at Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum before the hockey players arrived. Magnussen was stronger in free skating than compulsory figures. At the 1972 Winter Olympics Magnussen achieved second in the free skate and won a silver medal. Since most audiences found compulsory figures unexciting, the International Skating Union (ISU) reduced their value and introduced the short program in the 1972/1973 season. This development encouraged Magnussen to stay in competition another year. At the first World Championships under this system, in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in 1973, Magnussen produced a strong short program and won the World Championship gold medal. This was the final year in which solid gold medals were awarded in figure skating. CCM produced a line of skates bearing her name, Regal Toys manufactured a “Karen” doll, and Collier-MacMillan published her autobiography in 1973. Magnussen retired from competition and turned professional, going on to perform with Ice Capades for four years, leaving them in 1977. In 1978, she married Tony Cella, the lead singer of a band. They lived in his hometown of Boston, MA for eleven years and then moved to Vancouver. They have two sons and a daughter. Magnussen coached for eleven years in Boston before returning to the North Shore Winter Club in North Vancouver. In addition to teaching figure skaters, she has also worked with hockey players to improve edges, power, balance, and stops and starts. The Karen Magnussen Community Recreation Centre in North Vancouver (built in 1974) is named after her. To assist young skaters, Magnussen established the Karen Magnussen Foundation. Magnussen was the last Canadian woman to win the World title until Kaetlyn Osmond in 2018, 45 years later. On November 28, 2011, an ammonia leak occurred at the North Shore Winter Club where Magnussen was working; she said it caused her breathing problems, hampered her ability to speak, impaired her vision, and left her chronically fatigued. Following the incident and treatment with the powerful steroid prednisone, she gained 60 pounds and developed rheumatoid arthritis, temporal arteritis (swelling of blood vessels to the head), and central sensitivity syndrome (affecting the interaction between the brain and vocal cords). WorkSafeBC inspectors cited the club for twelve health and safety violations. Interviewed by the CBC in December 2013, Magnussen said compensation benefits ceased when WorkSafeBC realized her disability was permanent. As of 2015, she continues to suffer serious health problems and may not enter a rink due to the risk from fumes. The Connaught Skating Club decided to organize a benefit show for Magnussen in March 2015. Magnussen is an Officer in the Order of Canada and has been inducted to the BC Sports Hall of Fame.