they outlawed this move just because she was the only woman who could do it.
Surya Bonaly was infamous for (among other things) doing a one blade backflip in the 1998 Olympics, and is the ONLY figure skater who’s ever pulled that off. Not just the only woman, the only figure skater PERIOD. There’s like all of three Olympic-class male skaters who did backflips in their routines, and NONE of them could do it one blade.
But wait, there’s more.
Backflips were banned from the 1976 Olympics onward on the official justification that skating jumps are supposed to be landed on one blade, whereas backflips are landed on both blades. The unofficial justification was it was too dangerous, both to the athlete and to the rink — if you didn’t land it perfectly, you could not only break your ankle, but also punch THROUGH the ice surface.
Surya Bonaly was openly contemptuous of the figure skating judges, because they were a bunch of openly racist white men who always screwed her over by giving her lower scores than she deserved. That one-blade backflip was her ultimate FUCK YOU! to the Olympics judges, because she took an “illegal” backflip and made it legal by landing it on one blade. Pretty much DARING them to mark her down for being epic awesome and pulling a move that their precious coddled white girls didn’t have the guts to even think about.
They did, of course. White racism knows no bounds. But she utterly owned them with that move.
not only did she do a fucking backflip and land, she landed then went right into a triple loop. like holy fuck
This is one of my favorite moments in “fuck you” history.
My ALL TIME favorite figure skater. I was totally obsessed with her in the 90s.
What can we do as women to be more supportive of one another?
Stop the “tear-down” culture. Don’t we have enough to deal with? Tear-down culture is pointless, and counter-productive. What we need are more multi-generational coalitions across the entire women’s movement.
Trailblazing Women You May Not Know (But Should): Alice Coachman, the first African-American woman to win Olympic gold
Each week, the Lean In tumblr will spotlight women who succeeded against the odds and blaze a trail in their fields — yet didn’t always end up in the history books. These posts do not serve as endorsements of specific policies or individuals. Lean In encourages everyone to support changes that help all women to succeed.
Alice Coachman — who grew up in the 1930s in Albany Georgia — always knew she was destined for a life in sports. She spent her childhood “just jumping with the boys in the street. I was so tomboyish, I wanted competition.”
And did she beat the boys? “I sure did,” she said.
Coachman joined the track team at her high school, but her parents had their doubts about encouraging their daughter’s athleticism. Coachman’s father didn’t approve of her training, which involved practicing on a homemade high jump.
"He said, ‘sit on the porch and act like a lady,’" Coachman told NBC. “But I didn’t do that.”In 1948, Coachman high jumped her way into history at the London Olympic Games. She was named to five All-American teams and opened with a record-breaking jump of 5’6”. Coachman became the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal, which she was awarded by Britain’s King George VI. “I didn’t know I’d won,” Coachman said. “I was on my way to receive the medal and I saw my name on the board. And, of course, I glanced over into the stands where my coach was and she was clapping her hands.”
"But then they go on to explain what they support and live by — it’s feminism exactly. I think some big actors and musicians feel like they have to speak to their audience and that word is confusing to their audience. But I don’t get it. That’s like someone being like, "I don’t really believe in cars, but I drive one every day and I love that it gets me places and makes life so much easier and faster and I don’t know what I would do without it."
- Amy Poehler on women who are reluctant to call themselves feminists.