This Day in Black History: Feb. 8, 1986

Figure skater Debi Thomas became the first African-American to win the Women's Singles of the U.S. National Figure Skating Championship.

Posted: 02/08/2013 08:00 AM EST

(Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

On Feb. 8, 1986, figure skater Debi Thomas became the first African-American to win the Women's Singles of the U.S. National Figure Skating Championship competition while studying as a pre-med student at Stanford University.

She was the first Black woman to win a national figure skating title.

Thomas also earned the distinction of becoming the first African-American to win a medal in any Winter Olympic sport when she won a bronze medal in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Thomas was born on March 25, 1967, in Poughkeepsie, New York, and began skating at the age of five. Dedicated to both sport and study, Thomas maintained her schedule as a university student throughout her skating career, earning her bachelor's degree in engineering in 1991. She retired from skating the following year and began medical school at Northwestern University, graduating in 1997.

She is currently a practicing physician in Virginia.

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