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How Backflipping Black Figure Skater Surya Bonaly Changed Sports Forever

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Surya Bonaly is the only female figure skater in history who can complete a very illegal and dangerous backflip — yet the black figure skater never won gold. Did race play a part in this? POPSUGAR Girls' Guide is your guide to living your '20s in style! We cover everything from DIY fashion and beauty, pop culture and comedy, recipes and food trends, celebrity news, and more. We also LOVE YouTubers and are lucky enough to have featured some of our favorites on PSGG, including Tyler Oakley, Ingrid Nilsen (Missglamorazzi), and many others. Subscribe to POPSUGAR Girls' Guide http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=popsugargirlsguide Find us on Snapchat! Username is popsugar
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Text Comments (5182)
Choco (1 day ago)
It's illegal for a good reason, the ice marks can be seriously dangerous for other skaters. Yet it's still incredible that she could even land such a thing. But Jesus fucking christ. Bonaly was so underscored in her days. All of those close minded ISU mongrels only imagined small petite white girls as their perfect figure skating queens. Bonaly was a legend.
Killer Queen (4 days ago)
Would it be illegal because of possibility of having your blade maybe stab you in the back.
jennifer wells (8 days ago)
WOW that is so inspiring I started skating again this year ,my second year and I'm in level5/6
Marion Ardailloux (9 days ago)
Great video. I am French and surya dominated French ice skating for the whole decade (9 Golds). I used to love watching her as a child and was disapointed when she did not do the back flip. However the number of skaters who can /could do it is not 4 but much higher. They dont do it in official competitions but in exhibitions etc.. For example philippe candeloro another French skater did it a lot and they even did it as a duo which was the coolest thing ever. Hundreds of skaters can pull it of, most men ( i only saw one other woman) and all land on both feet
Likely Ruri (16 days ago)
They fr couldn’t let her live🤦🏾‍♀️
Squirrel (16 days ago)
This video is further proof that the white supremacists have dominated ALL areas of activity, including entertainment (sports), for the purpose of harming and mistreating people based on race
Ivana Golaboska (20 days ago)
Seriously guys? Just because she is the only one who did a backflip, and she had to win gold? Mirai Nagasu did triple Axel, and she didn't win gold. It's about whole performance! Artistry is also important, the whole package. Just watch Yuks Sato's performance in comparison with Bonaly's, she definitely deserved the gold, and Bonaly didn't have the right to complain. It was fairly judged. Just go see and compare their performances. Judge for yourself.
Vivien Armstrong (24 days ago)
Racism to the max. In spite of all the excuses people make up.
Teodoro Hannah (24 days ago)
Seeing Bonaly skate is such an inspiration for me Lol it makes me wanna try skating 😂😂😂
Gerald Russell (24 days ago)
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Concern x (30 days ago)
I think she did a great job who cares what others think let her have fun!
luvsilly60 (1 month ago)
Pretty cool if she coaches an ice princess to win with grace and some power.
Jit Wern Goh (1 month ago)
Bon alya is so cool I wish she got first place I don’t care if she graceful she perform well and I bet the judges are jealous about what bonaly could do I vote for her so inspiring
Kelly Mckay (1 month ago)
I would love to be on the unfavourites, you know why, because you prove your better than them and everyone else on your own style and tricks😍
brian green (1 month ago)
Jeon Jungkook (1 month ago)
you can hear my eyes rolling over that quote (¬、¬)
rob yohn (1 month ago)
whatever happened to debbie thomas?
Gloria Nnamani (1 month ago)
Hummmm what racism has done to "sport" She was a Swan! European bastards! No white b... She succeeded!!
Laura Fulop (1 month ago)
WTF - WHY would she be a badass ???? She just had a strong backbone what others did NOT.
rocketgirl (1 month ago)
Everyone going crazy over Tonyas triple axle, but this move is fucking CRAZY difficult literally a backflip split and landing on one foot?!? Like what??
Emily chairez (1 month ago)
lmao yea landing on one foot is required for almost all jumps and spins for figure skating. So she was just doing the jump right not landing on one foot lmao
RagingMoon1987 (1 month ago)
Jesus, everything has to be about race these days.
pastel reaper (1 month ago)
You go girl!
Coffee (1 month ago)
Racist, racist and racist cut the crap and do your MF job. Your not there to do all that
babygirl🍒 (1 month ago)
With this whole athletiy over artistry reminds me of Tonya Harding.
Shekola Carrington (1 month ago)
The girl was black, versatile, didn't have the "skater body type" and was described as a rebel. She pushed the boundaries and made history. And so my point is, why isn't she well know, where are her interviews, where is her movie. Seriously I want to know more about her
clara (1 month ago)
Everyone in this comment section has this while narrative build up about her being too badass and the racist sexist judges without actually knowing anything about figure skating, how its scored and how good she actually was. Like you just know shes black and she did a backglip which while impressive, is as mentioned illegal and of course theyre not going to change the rules on the spot for her. It wouldn't befairto everyone else who remember worked just as hard with the assumption that the rules would be in place. a And even if they did she might not have medaled anyway.
Cupcake Mom (1 month ago)
She was a woman ahead of her time. She was brave,fierce,and talented.
1:09-1:11 Speaker: Despite her History Maki- - *OTAKU MODE ACTIVATED* - Me: *BORN TO MAKE HISTORY!!!!*
Pugnus YT (1 month ago)
Bonaly is my new idol
Eden (1 month ago)
Hands down, the best female skater in history. She didn't come onto the ice to do BALLET, she came to kick ass and take names. Hahahahaha! +Skating is a PRO-WHITE sport so yeah they hated that she was sexier, more fit, and well ahead of the technical evolution in figure skating. IT DROVE THEM CRAZY, they thought it should have been a white girl. Hahahahahahaha. I loved how she gave them the middle finger by, wiping the floor with the competition with her beyond human backflip. She knew they were assholes. That was her having the last laugh!
Apaora UK (1 month ago)
The judges are like how can a black girl perform so wonderfully well. No way. Let's bring her down. Then they remember some shitty rules. Skating is a sport not some merry go round. If she broke records she shd be credited for her efforts not discouraging and totally humiliating her.
Apaora UK (1 month ago)
People are just jealous of that dark skin tone... I wonder when it's going to end
Amreen Pri (1 month ago)
she's coooooool😘
peter gbrics (1 month ago)
I see the point of the judges.She is awesome,but not elegant...it’s like having. A hip hop dancer performing ballet
Terry Gassner (1 month ago)
You have to habr class and .. ..
Kelly Marie (1 month ago)
I am beyond sick and tired of hearing blacks cry “racism” every five seconds!!!
Katherine Desch (1 month ago)
Why was she mad? The person who one wasn't even white she was *aisan*
Cat Ears (1 month ago)
1:44 it wasn't racism . They said the same thing to Tonya harding who is white. Stop making every bad comment to a black person racism, because it's not.
잃어버린별 (1 month ago)
She's not an Ice Princess, She's a FREAKING ICE QUEEN
JUST ME (1 month ago)
1:59 id like to see you try that backflip
Altamonte Doctors (1 month ago)
Even this bitch is whining about racism give me a fucking break when does this shit end Obama was President y'all had your moment!!!!!!! Move on
Tammy Hubbard (1 month ago)
she was way to dark if she was lighter it wouldn't be a problem
Tress Braga (1 month ago)
Absolutely atrocious reporting. I liked Surya, and I was always impressed with her backflip. But there were too many problems with her, which the video fails to address. First of all, she was a gymnast who switched over to skating at a relatively late age. There were, thus, deficiencies in her basic skating skills. Her stroking was horrendous, and her overall footwork was so subpar that the only way she could compete was if she landed all her jumps. In terms of her jumping ability, I'd say that she was very good, especially between 1993-95. The only problem I could find with her jumping was that she would telegraph her jumps, which meant that she would take a longer period of time to set up for jumps, which made it look very obvious that she was about to jump and this affected her choreography and presentation. She was also a good spinner, but she did not hold her positions long enough, and they looked unfinished. Moreover, she didn't really have good choreography; she would mostly choreograph herself. She also assigned her mother, who was not a skater, as her coach. Again, she did not surround herself with experts that could have guided her better. There was also the issue of her lying about her roots, and she made it appear that her life was more exotic than it really was. I think that the international judges resented this since it gave skating such bad press when the truth came out. In terms of racism, I agree that it probably was a factor; but the fact that the video cites the 1994 World Championships as an example of this is strange since the winner was non-white, just like Surya. If you look at Yuka Sato's performance, it was obvious that her footwork, speed, and technique were all better than Surya's. Yuka also landed all of her jumps. For the video to complain about Surya's 10th place finish despite landing a backflip at the 1998 Olympics, I found this to be grossly irresponsible an analysis since Surya only landed two clean triple jumps for her long program (and those were two triple toe loops --the easiest of the jumps), whereas the top skaters were landing six or seven triples. She also fell, by the way, and she under-rotated and omitted the more important/difficult jumps. She also ended her program with her back to the judges, effectively insulting them. I think Surya could have been a world champion had she trained better, and really refined her artistry and basic skating movements and footwork. But her rebellious spirit led her to do things on her own terms. Unfortunately, by doing so, she also turned her back on the technicalities and finer points of skating.
Alexandra Anceno (2 months ago)
She just spilled the hot tea in the last part of the video!!!! ☕☕☕☕
Bubs Bubbles (2 months ago)
fucking hate white ricists hoes, this ain’t offensive, once been bullied for being Asian because I was good at soccer
kawaii lol (2 months ago)
Not to be rude but when i first saw Yuka Sato.... I thought she was a male
Harden Thicke (2 months ago)
I'm sure Tonya Harding would love her.
ava Fisher (2 months ago)
That is not fair that she was treated differently because of her race I think she deserved a gold medle
corhydron111 (2 months ago)
so... she was the kanye of ice skating
illiam way (2 months ago)
we are not blind, we can see she is BLACK
danyall nadeem (2 months ago)
She should have been awarded gold
Lelah Fletcher (2 months ago)
I'm not going to say she didn't face racism and defiance in 90s figure skating, because she absolutely did. However, the backflip was banned in 1976 so it really didn't have anything to do with her specifically. Judges have and always will use bias in scoring, however, it is supposed to be that those figure skaters who medal should have a good balance between artistry AND athleticism. That's why the current scoring system now scores artistry (Component Score) and athleticism (Technical Score) separately and are later combined for the total score. As for her skating sounding "scratchy" that is something that shows poor balance and edgework so it's definitely not a sign of good basic skating skills, but rather a lacking skating skills foundation. That lady was way too harsh though in saying Surya didn't know how to skate, obvs she's an fantastic skater. Having said all that, her protest and outspokenness were awesome and she was definitely an amazing skater and badass woman who competed in a sport that is known to be biased and conservative. Note: I have been a figure skater all my life which is why I felt compelled to clear up some of those technical issues weren't necessarily the result of racism or bias, but are issues in skating that are well known as valid variables or deductions in scoring. Thanks!
MrRod (2 months ago)
What part of figure skating don't you people get, it's not about being more athletic, if it was then they would call it ice gymnasium or gymnasium on ice...but is not it's figure, figure...it's been this way before the women even existed.
bigbangnone (2 months ago)
She took a path which demonstrated that she was superior to many of the top skaters, and although the judges had no criteria at the time to reward her with the metals that she clearly earned, many spectators regard her performance achievements as the best. And we know ......what goes on behind the competitions. Rich kid money....paying for all the ballet lessons and top coaches. Those difficulty factors were not considered..... Another reason why many spectators regard her as the best.
Nino Brown (2 months ago)
And why was it illegal?
Little Cashew named Lou (2 months ago)
The judges were shit wads >:(
RCPRO B (2 months ago)
Why do you have to say black skater? Seriously
Bernie Liu (2 months ago)
If u want a princess go to d palace!!! She gutsy, beautiful, nice skin color n skates well.. I think it's Racism!!
Faye Gwenn (2 months ago)
Why do some people have to make everything about race and gender? She is a great figure not because she is a woman or she is black, but because she is a truly unique individual.
flxwercxrpse (2 months ago)
She is the winner in my eyes! She deserved #1 spot
Luna Delight (2 months ago)
They should make i,Tonya a series and add i,Surya. I would watch that.
Melon Pom (2 months ago)
Tbh blacks are better than whites some just don't get raised properly
Melon Pom (2 months ago)
Maximilian Jens and plus many ethnicity people don't get raised right so if me saying some black people don't get raised right offended you I apologize for that
Melon Pom (2 months ago)
Maximilian Jens lol can u read I said some black ppl aren't raised right but a lot are its just that ppl see us as ghetto nasty and uneducated and it pisses me off
Maximilian Jens (2 months ago)
BTS Back Meat So you are denoting that black people aren't raised right, due to what specific reason may I ask, and how does that differ to other diverse ethnic groups?
Melon Pom (2 months ago)
Maximilian Jens and i actually read book unlike most ppl
Melon Pom (2 months ago)
Maximilian Jens no honey I'm black lol
Melon Pom (2 months ago)
Racist judges
Winnie Cho (2 months ago)
Figure skating isn't about the jumps and moves, it's mostly about the artistry. I think she is an amazing skater but the video kind of makes Yuka sound like a bad guy even though she actually was a better skater who presented the sport as it was meant to be presented and did a beautiful job of it.
hal hibben (2 months ago)
She's a total badass.
jdhkx geu (2 months ago)
She's a badass
Abigail Kyra (2 months ago)
She's not an Ice Princess. She's a badass inspiring Ice Queen.
Leslie Perez (2 months ago)
Tonya Harding was pretty muscular too, and she didn't represent the "America's Sweetheart" look, so people preferred Nancy Kerrigan even though Harding was better skills wise.
She's not a swan cause she is a Snowy owl, they don't stay in the ice, they fly gracefully and freely above the ice.
Mimi Zoldyck (2 months ago)
I love herrrr😍😍 yass girl tell themmm
zeldafreak701 (2 months ago)
She and Tonya Harding were powerhouse skaters that shook the Skating world and consistently victims of judge favoritism.
Ron Ronizetti (2 months ago)
One must give her credit for landing that flip on one foot! - Needless to say, several people could and had done it before in two footed landings, including America's own Terry Kubica doing it first in the Olympics back in 1976! I would argue that landing it on one foot "makes it a legal jump", BUT, we skaters don't make the rules. Technically, they'd want a jump landed on one EDGE of the blade. I would also have to agree with Sandra Bezic, Suria's skating was VERY choppy and abrupt, it was more like a gymnasts floor routine on skates. This eliminated the natural "flow" associated with skating. That said, she was a fierce competitor ... REFUSING a medal however was insulting and a poor display of judgement that cost her dearly. Skating judges NEVER forget!
No matter how much good it is. Its Illegal Move and that how all sports works. You cannot count something if you did something illegal.. If she was injured while doing backflip and landed her neck instead. Whos going to pay for it. U think the media will not protest the skating world if she died due to the backflip. our neck can be easily be broken.
Pearl Anderson (2 months ago)
She ain’t a princess she’s a warrior!
Quincy Haron (2 months ago)
Jealously at its finest!! And it's all thanks to that >>powerful melanin<<.
Beth G. (2 months ago)
A trans skater is next I suppose.
Samanthia Vallery (2 months ago)
Thats how they did tanya harding they never judged her fairly be cause she did not fit the look of an "ice princess"
Emani Parker (2 months ago)
She was a badass for sure, my good sis wasn’t tryna be no regular on the ice 😂😂😂😂😂 miss her with that.
Hleomnaer (2 months ago)
I got goosebumps
Gin Sang (2 months ago)
Ya Girl Is G E Y (2 months ago)
The backflip should really count as a point..
Wendy Aviles (2 months ago)
She inspired me so let her do the thing she want she is wonderful how she is
walter smith (2 months ago)
She was quite amazing. I loved watching her skate
Justice Westlake (3 months ago)
I get that it was special, but if a move is illegal, don't do it???
Supreme Bape (3 months ago)
she was the ugly ducking who did illegal moves
nick claus (3 months ago)
if she was white her story would been in history books already make a movie about this ice Queen !!!
Pulse RESURRECTED (3 months ago)
Fuck this Video & Channel
Francisco C. (3 months ago)
Also we were born to make history (yuri on ice)
Francisco C. (3 months ago)
If the judges did a backflip and broke their ankles, I would be satisfied because wtf why would backflip \split be illegal?
Erika Hart (3 months ago)
It's sad that she seems to internalize the racist treatment toward her. "When you're black everyone knows that you have to do better than anyone else who's white." I mean, she can say all she wants that racism and gender stereotypes didn't play into her losses- but by acknowledging that she has to be better than white figure skaters to receive the same admiration and recognition...That screams racist to me.
mood (3 months ago)
What a queen
Jordan Marshall (3 months ago)
Why did they have to say backflipping BLACK figure skater like her being black is not obvious
Lauren Thompson (3 months ago)
Very illegal and dangerous backflip. You mean totally fucking awesome backflip. As if doing triple trip jumps or quads aren't "dangerous," right? That's why ice skating is so badass. 99% of us are soared AF to fall on the ice. With sharp blades to boot. It's slipper it's cold it's hard. The ice when you hit it, and hats to even stay upright on! It's slippery. And then comes along Syria doing a muthafucling backflip. Idgaf. That is an accomplishment and should be recognized as such. I think that they would still not allow it even of she was white. But was she ever first on the podium? I seen bronze a lot wtf is that about? I don't know how she didn't get so fed up with the bullshit unfairness and kept skating when she was always being second oelr third to lighter skinned skaters who might not have always been better than her. Maybe that's why she did the backflip. Like, go head, give that bitch the gold medal, bet she can't do this fuck y'all!
Naveed Hussain (3 months ago)
U r such a racist....y mention the word black...can't u just say her name and do u mention white for all white figure skaters out there?
Chris Night (3 months ago)
"When you're black, everybody knows you have to do better than anyone else who's white." But she lost to Yuka Sato, who was white? Next year to Chen Lu from China? Hmm...
stone's creativity (3 months ago)
She was "born to make history"
Maria Phoebe Fernandez (3 months ago)
Ana (3 months ago)
Your numbers went #3, #2, and #3...
Repent (3 months ago)
Basically she's famous for being the only black.
Inspirational Johnson (3 months ago)
Why does she have to be a Black Figure Kater? Why can't she be just a Figure Skater? People don't say she's a White Figure s skater. This is what's wrong with the world.

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