is famous for her backflip landed on only one blade; she is considered the only skater in the world capable of this move
Why am I just now hearing about her??????
Because you’re young. She retired from amateur competition after the ‘98 Nagano Olympics and never medalled at the Olympics in her career, but she did win gold at Europeans a bunch of times and silvered at Worlds a few times.
The main thing to understand about Surya Bonaly’s career as a skater is that figure skating is racist as fuck and she never fit the image of a skater, to judges or to commentators. Race and colorism were a huge fucking factor in how she was evaluated and discussed—she’s French, born in Nice, but her (white) adoptive parents lied and said she was born off Madagascar and abandoned by her birth parents to make her seem more ~exotic~, to give you an idea.
Commentators were especially horrid to her and loved to praise her for her “athletic” style but would always criticize her for not being ~artistic~ enough and she always got dinged on artistic presentation. She would always do well in the short program on technical marks and then the long program would be her achilles heel because of how heavily artistic presentation was weighted. (For the younger among you, this is pre-SLC so this is when the old judging system was still being used.)
More proof of how fucked skating is: Surya is also the only woman to my knowledge to ever land a quad toe loop in competition or even attempt one and to this day they don’t want to credit her with actually landing it, because all four rotations were not completed in air. Granted, there is a fair case to be made that it was only a triple, but don’t doubt that race played a role in that. They hated on this woman from the minute she got on the ice.
And yes, she landed that famous backflip on one blade at the 98 Olympics in her long program as one last FU to the system that had been fucking her for her whole career. Which is the real reason you should know who she is, tbh. Never was there a badder bitch on ice.
I remember when my mother threw her slipper at a television when Surya was receiving her marks in 1994 at Lillehammer.