Black History Month: The Champion Award Winning Figure Ice Skater Surya Banaly

I have been woefully negligent this month, for I haven’t written a single post for Black History Month. Our friend Gronda beat me to the punch this year. You may remember the 1994 Winter Olympics held in Lillehammer, Norway. It is often defined by two names: Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. But there was another figure skater who shined that year, and she is the subject of Gronda’s post. Thank you, Gronda, for highlighting the achievements of Surya Banaly and for your permission to share it.

Gronda Morin

Imagine a time in the 1980s-1998, there is an exciting, exceptionally athletic Black ice skater who kept coming close, time after time to winning the top prize at the Olympic games and at the World Championship events but she never makes it. The fans love her as she is truly an amazing figure on the ice. Her name is Surya Bonaly.

She did all the different moves / jumps as described in the below video with ease. But because of the color of her skin, she never knew if the judges kept rewarding her with lesser scores time after time on this basis or because she actually didn’t earn it. At the time, she was the only Black figure ice skater who had been competing at all the major contests.

Image result for images of surya bonaly 1994

But unlike Serena Williams who has also complained of perceived slights because of her color and athletic style, where she…

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5 thoughts on “Black History Month: The Champion Award Winning Figure Ice Skater Surya Banaly

  1. One can only admire Surya Bonaly’s protest at the unfairness of the judging in 1994 and even more so with her 1998 going out with your own style Bonaly Backflip. I remember hearing Scott Hamilton’s voice as he watched her then, knowing why she had done it and maybe even some admiration of her having done it. She was a rebel, but a darned talented one. Surya could not fit into the preconceived notion of the ice princess and was judged harshly because of it. Thank-you for sharing this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, unfortunately she did not fit into the preconceived picture, but she shone in her own way. Fair? No. But who said the world is fair? It isn’t. She, however, is a lady of great talent and, as my grandmother used to say, ‘chutzpah’. My hat is off to her.


  2. Dear Jill,

    Thanks for the reblog. Surya Banaly did catch my eye. I obviously admired her performances like most of the fans but the judges didn’t feel likewise. It has to be tough for a young girl to have to wonder if the color of her skin had an effect on the judge’s evaluations of her while she still had to maintain an air of dignity with her head held high.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

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