Debra Janine Thomas (born March 25, 1967) is an American former figure skater and physician. She is the 1986 World champion….the 1988 Olympic 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 won both the 1986 U.S. national title and the 1986 World Championships….when those achievements earned Thomas the ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year award that year….which CBS’s Anne Butler showcases in this video herewith….for Debbie Thomas was the first female athlete to win those titles while attending college full-time since Tenley Albright in the 1950’s.
Debbie Thomas was the first African-American to hold U.S. National titles in ladies’ singles figure skating…..while she 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.