- Anne M. Heutsche
With her stunningly powerful and graceful jumps, Thomas became the first African American to win both national and world figure skating competitions. In addition, she was the first person of African descent to win a bronze medal at the Winter Olympic Games. While her athletic accomplishments are remarkable, what sets Thomas apart is that she was the first athlete to balance athletic training with a full-time course load at Stanford University.
Thomas was born to Janice and McKinley Thomas in Poughkeepsie, New York. Her older brother, Rick, is a high school math teacher. The Thomas family stressed the importance of education through example. Thomas’s maternal grandfather, Daniel Skelton pursued his training for veterinary medicine at Cornell University Her mother Janice was a Mathematics major and Physics minor at Wichita State University in Kansas Because there were more high tech employment opportunities in the Silicon Valley the family moved ...
A version of this article originally appeared in Black Women in America, 2nd ed.