As we come to the end of the Winter Olympics, and make our way through Black History Month, we highlight another Black woman pioneer in winter sports – Debi Thomas.
Debi Thomas was the first African-American to obtain the title of world champion in women’s figure skating. In 1988, Thomas became the first Black American to medal in the Winter Olympics in Calgary. She received the bronze medal in a title bout that put “America’s Sweetheart” Thomas against East Germany’s phenom. Thomas is also the only Black woman to have held both the National title and World title in the same year (1986).
Thomas chose to end her very successful skating career after the 1988 World Championships. She went on to study engineering at Stanford before graduating with a degree in medicine from Northwestern University. She is now a practicing orthopedic surgeon in Virginia.
Just like I like them…beauty, athleticism, and brains.