Austrian native Szabo was born in February 1902 to a figure skating mother, and also had an uncle who was a figure skater as well. She began skating at a young age, practicing at her uncle’s arena alongside her cousins.
She is one of the handful of ladies to become five time national champions, and also hold two national titles in pairs skating with partner Ludwig Wrede. As a singles skater she also won gold at the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924, becoming the first woman to win a Winter Olympic title in figure skating. She did so while wearing a skirt cut above the knee, a modernization in figure skating fashion that is usually credited to Sonja Henie.
She also holds five consecutive world titles in singles skating (1922-1926), and two world titles in pairs skating (1925 and 1927). She is the only skater to hold simultaneous world titles in both singles and pairs.
At the 1927 World Championships, there was a bit of a judging scandal with Norwegian competitor Sonja Henie. The judging panel at this event consisted of three Norwegian judges, one German judge, and one Austrian judge. The three Norwegian judges placed Henie first, while the German and Austrian judge placed Szabo first. As a result of the events that took place and the reaction of spectators, the ISU put into place the rule we still have today of having only one judge from a country on a judging panel.
Szabo retired from skating after the event, and never skated again. She passed away in May 1986. You can view a couple videos on YouTube of Szabo skating by clicking here and here.
Szabo was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1982.