Ice skating is my absolute favorite Olympic sport to watch, and I remember like it was yesterday being a six-year-old watching Debi Thomas do her thing. She was RAD then and is certainly RAD now, so know your history sis and read up on this amazing piece of Black History.
1. Family Matters
And momma knows best. Thomas’ mother introduced her to many different activities at a young age–ice skating happened to be one of those many things. She instantly fell in love and her mother instantly began to make sacrifices. In order to ensure her daughters success Momma Thomas would often travel over 100 miles a day between home, school, and the ice rink. Now that’s love.
2. School Rules
While it was at the age of five that Thomas first stepped on the ice, it was also the same age in which she decided she wanted to be a doctor. Hello big dreams! Her education and professional ice skating dream were equally important to her and she has both the titles and diplomas to prove it. Thomas won both the 1986 U.S. national title and the 1986 World Championships all while attending college full-time. This was incredibly rare at the time by the way. I know you are wondering what she was she studying and where she was studying it at? Ahem–something to the tune of pre-med at Stanford University. Nice!
3. Drink To This
While most young girls are counting down the days to their 21st birthday Thomas was counting down the days to her retirement. That’s right, she retired from amateur ice skating immediately after winning the bronze medal at the 1988 World Championships. Done and done…on to other dreams.
4. Millennium Fame
Black history at it’s finest–Thomas was the first African-American to hold U.S. National titles in ladies’ singles figure skating and even went on to being inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000. The 2000’s were a big year for her as Thomas also had the privilege of being selected selected by President George W. Bush to be part of the U.S. Delegation for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin Italy.
5. That’s Dr. Thomas To You
After she was done slaying titles and breaking records Thomas left the ice in order to collect degrees. She went on to graduate from Stanford University in 1991 with a degree in engineering and from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 1997. She did her residency rounds and is currently a practicing orthopedic surgeon with a specialization in hip and knee replacement at a private practice in Virginia. Get it girl!
Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a professional FitGirl, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more fun health and fitness tips!
Check Out This Gallery Of Black Women In The Olympics!