Surya Bonaly-Black French-American Champion Ice Skater

Surya Bonaly a black French-American three-time World silver medalist, a five-time European champion, the 1991 World Junior Champion and a nine-time French national champion. Surya became best known for her amazing free skate at the 1998 Winter Olympics, where she performed her one bladed back flip. To this day she is the only skater to ever do this. Learn about more athletes. African American History in the Winter Olympics Games.:
Surya Bonaly

Surya Bonaly (born December 15, 1973) is a French-American former figure skater who competed for France. She is a three-time World silver medalist (1993–1995), a five-time European champion (1991–1995), the 1991 World Junior Champion, and a nine-time French national champion (1989–1997).

Bonaly is the only figure skater to land a backflip on only one blade; she performed it at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Bonaly was born in Nice, France on December 15, 1973.[1][2] Initially named Claudine, she was adopted at 18 months old by Suzanne and Georges Bonaly, who gave her the name Surya.[3] Suzanne worked as a physical education teacher and Georges as an architect for the government. The couple initially told the media that their daughter had been born on the island of Réunion because they thought this origin sounded more “exotic”.[4] When Surya approached the age of 18 and began researching her birth history, her parents admitted that Surya’s biological mother had been from the island but that Surya herself had not been born there. Didier Gailhaguet, who was Bonaly’s first coach of her competitive career, admitted fabricating the story because he thought it would interest the press.[5]

Surya Bonaly in 1992


Bonaly was originally a competitive gymnast. She began skating in 1985[1] in Nice before relocating to Paris.[3] Early reports said that Gailhaguet discovered Bonaly at a public session, but years later, she said she had wanted to skate in Gailhaguet’s competitive skating group and actually asked to participate.[6]

Bonaly became an American citizen in January 2004.[5] She lived in Las Vegas, Nevada for a time[18] and currently lives in Minnesota where she works as a coach.

Bonaly, a vegetarian,[21][22] has appeared in many PETA ads in both English and French, namely acting against Canada’s seal hunt and against the fur trade.[23][24][25]

Read more at Wikipedia


4 thoughts on “Surya Bonaly-Black French-American Champion Ice Skater

    1. Welcome! My memory was refreshed with this post because there is not to many black figure skaters (besides her and Debbie Thomas). I remember seeing her growing up and was sooo happy to see a woman who looked like me on the ice. She is very talented. I hope to see more in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

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