Black Women In History: 10 Reasons We’re Still Wowed By 1980s Olympic Figure Skater Tai Babilonia

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Figure this? Black girl ice skaters have been in the Olympic Games for more decades than you think. Making history in this dancing-on-ice event however is the one and only Tai Babilonia. She’s RAD indeed…here’s 10 reasons why.

#1 She’s A Part Of Black History

Babilonia was the first figure skater of partial African-American descent to win U.S. and World titles–which was not an easy fete at the time. Breaking down racial barriers would’ve never been possible though without the help of African-American figure skater and coach Mabel Fairbanks; she was the RAD lady responsible for linking Babilonia and Gardner back in 1968. Each one teach one–Fairbanks was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1997 and Babilonia was right be her side.

#2 Age Aint Nothing But A Number

Babilonia was a young contender in the figure skating game, spending her teenage years kicking butts and taking names. Like most professionals, she was hard on herself and at 54, it is evident all her perfectionism paid off. She says she still really enjoys doing death spirals, spread eagles and ina bauers too! Wow!

#3 She Doesn’t Have Commitment Issues

On and off the ice, Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner are quite the winning pair. Literally. The pair became five-time U.S. national champions and won the gold medal at the 1979 World Championships.They were medal favorites at the 1980 Winter Olympics, but were unfortunately forced to withdraw due to an injury to Gardner. “The 1980 Olympic experience taught us that on any given day, anything can happen. You keep pushing forward and never look back!” Babilonia told author Priscilla Gilman. Can you say committed? This dynamic duo recently just hit the 45 year mark in their friendship. How beautiful!

#4 Cali Girls Do It Best

As a native sun-soaking FitGirl, I am not surprised to discover that Tai Babilonia was born in Los Angeles, CA. She started ice skating at the age of six and was an instant favorite at the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club. No wonder she was paired with partner Randy Gardner after only two years in the game, making her an eight-year-old phenom!

#5 Mommy 101

If you ask Babilonia what her greatest accomplishment was, she would say without a doubt her son, Scout. He is her one and only child with former husband, Cary Butler. Currently Scout is 19-years-old and is her biggest supporter and cheerleader.

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