What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Debi Thomas: the first black athlete to win a medal in the Winter Olympics

Figure skater earned bronze in 1988

4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown to host ‘Tech Hustle’ during All-Star Weekend

Private event will include people from sports, business and entertainment

4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

Bowie State QB Amir Hall named Black College Football Player of the Year

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

Wake up! It’s the 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s ‘School Daze’

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

New York Fashion Week: At Telfar and Pyer Moss, messages in the music

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

Richard Ewell: the first black skater to win a national title in singles and pairs

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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4:51 PMDebi Thomas became the first African-American athlete to earn a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took the bronze in women’s figure skating in 1988.

Born: March 25, 1967

Her story: Thomas was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and started skating at age 5. She won her first competition at age 9. In 1986, while representing the Los Angeles Skating Club and studying engineering at Stanford, Thomas won the senior title at U.S. Nationals after finishing second in 1985. She also won the 1986 world championship. She led all skaters heading into the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, but Thomas missed on some jumps during her routine and finished third behind East Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley. She also took bronze at the 1988 World Championships. She later performed with Stars on Ice and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fast fact: Thomas graduated from Northwestern Medical School and became an orthopedic surgeon. Financial troubles forced her to sell her practice, and she ended up broke and living in a trailer.

Quotable: “My mother introduced me to many different things, and figure skating was one of them,” Thomas told ABC Sports. “I just thought that it was magical having to glide across the ice. I begged my mom to let me start skating.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.