As we come to the close of Black History month, today’s TBT looks at a doubly timely event that took place today, Feb. 27, in 1988.
On that day, figure skater Debi Thomas became the first African American to win a medal at a Winter Olympic Games. Thomas had won the U.S. and world titles in 1986. However, it was her rival Katarina Witt who took home the gold. They both performed their long programs to Bizet’s “Carmen.”
The first African American men to medal at a Winter Olympics were Garret Hines and Randy Jones, who won silver medals together on the U.S. four-man bobsled team in 2002.
Also in 2002, Vonetta Flowers became the first African American (and the first black athlete, period) to win a gold medal at a Winter games. She and Jill Bakkan won the two-woman bobsled. And then, in 2006, Shani Davis won the 1,000-meter speed-skating competition and became the first black man from any country to win a gold at a Winter games. He captured the gold again in 2010.
On another note (pun intended), on the last day of February in 1984, Michael Jackson won eight Grammy Awards for “Thriller,” which had broken all sales records to date and to this day is among the top grossing albums of all time.