One of the greatest ice skaters to ever grace the ice was French skater Surya Bonaly. She was born on December 15, 1973, in Nice, France. She was adopted when she was eight months old and began training under Didier Gailhaguet, the President of the French Ice Sports Federation, when she was about ten years old. She is recognized as the only skater, male or female, to do a backward flip and land on one skate.
Surya looked totally different than the other skaters. She had beautiful black skin, beautiful smile, a strong athletic body that looked like she did additional training beyond ice skating, and her costumes, designed by French fashion designer Christian Lacroix were absolutely amazing!! She looked like a 20th century version of Josephine Baker on ice skates!! She wore vibrant reds, peach, bright pinks, dazzling yellows & powder blues that offset her skin tone perfectly.
She was the epitome of Black beauty, class, grace, & strength.
She won the French national figure skating title nine times and the European figure skating title five times. She won a silver medal at the World Figure Skating championships three times, and placed 4th at the 1994 Winter Olympics and 5th at the 1992 Winter Olympics.
In 1998, in the middle of a competition, she did her famous back flip which was not allowed during that particular competition. The rumor is she did the back flip on purpose because she knew she didn’t have a chance to get into the 1998 Olympics so she knew that back flip would be her signature. Needless to say that move has now become a part of figure skating history.
She became a United States Citizen in 2004 and currently lives In Las Vegas Nevada and teaches ice skating. Other Black skaters came before her and have left their mark but I don’t think as long as I live I will ever see a skater like the great Surya Bonaly.