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Mabel Fairbanks
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Figure Skater
    (November 14, 1916-September 2001)
    First known US figure skater of African-American descent
    Of African-American and Seminole ancestry
    She never married.
    Her father abandoned her when she was a child.
    Many of her innovative moves were ignored by the skating world because she was black.
    She dyed her hair.
    Some of her costumes were garish.
    Her uncle built a rink in her backyard so she could practice.
    She taught herself the basic skating moves.
    Most skating rinks would not allow her to join because of her race.
    Undaunted by racism, she created and choreographed her own ice shows in nightclubs overseas.
    Legendary US champ Maribel Vinson Owen gave her private lessons.
    She coached Tai Babilonia, Randy Gardner, Scott Hamilton and Kristi Yamaguchi in their early years.
    She coached Atoy Wilson, the first African-American man to win a national junior title.
    She also coached the children of Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and Betty Hutton.
    She gave free skating lessons to African-Americans who otherwise could not afford to do so.
    She suffered from myasthenia gravis, which eventually killed her.
    She is the first black skater to be elected to the USFSA Figure Skating Hall of Fame (1997).

Credit: Xer

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