Most people who follow international figure skating or watched the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, would know the name Surya Bonaly. Born on December 15, 1973, she is a French figure skater who was a three-time World silver medalist and a five-time European champion. During Black History Month, she deserves to be remembered as a black athlete who pulled off an impossible move and got the last laugh on an international stage.
To this day, Bonaly is remembered in the figure skating world as the only person to land a one-bladed back flip. Back flips are considered an illegal move because skaters can severely injure themselves if they don’t stick the landing. Regardless, she was tired of the Olympic judges giving black skaters less points than their competitors even if the routines matched or excelled in difficulty. To prove a point, Bonaly channeled that Black Girl Magic and hit a back flip like Chun-Li. Not only did she land the flip, she did it using only one of her blades. By completing such a dangerous and difficult move, the judges wouldn’t be able to justify giving her a low score. Still, the judges deducted points from her and said it was because she performed an illegal move. Although she didn’t win a medal during the Olympics, she wasn’t afraid to put the entire organization on blast and make history as the only figure skater to land a one bladed backflip.
Today Doxygen Media celebrates, the bad-ass figure skater, Surya Bonaly!!
– Amalachi Okpalanma