1980sABCFigure SkatingInterviewsJim McKayTeam USAWide World of SportsWorld Championships

Figure Skating – 1986 – ABC Jim McKay Interviews Reigning World Champ Figure Skater USA Debi Thomas

Debi Thomas is an American former figure skater and physician…..who is the 1986 Women’s World Figure Skating champion….the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics bronze medalist….and a two-time U.S. national champion . Her rivalry with East Germany’s Katarina Witt at the 1988 Calgary Olympics was known as the Battle of the Carmens. Thomas placed 5th in the World Championships in 1985….and won the gold medal at the 1986 World Championships….as the eighteen year old won the short program and landed four triple jumps to place second in the long program….which enough to win the overall competition. Thomas had also won the U.S. national title besides the World Championship that year….as these achievements earned Thomas the ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year award that year…..for she was the 1st female athlete to win those titles while attending college full-time since Tenley Albright in the 1950’s….plus, she was the 1st African-American to hold U.S. National titles in ladies’ singles figure skating. Debi Thomas was a pre-med student at Stanford University during this time although it was unusual for a top U.S. skater to go to college at the same time as competing.  That year she received a Candace Award for Trailblazing from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. 

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