In honor of Black History Month, today’s Figure Skating Friday is dedicated to Mabel Fairbanks.
Although she was barred from joining a figure skating club, and, therefore, barred from competition, Mabel was taught by the legendary Maribel Vinson and became quite a skilled skater.
Mabel had a lasting effect on the sport of figure skating, especially as a coach. After a career as a show skater, she settled in Los Angeles, where she coached skaters from all backgrounds. In fact, she was the one who paired up Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner.
In addition to Tai and Randy, Mabel’s students included Kristi Yamaguchi, Rudy Galindo, Scott Hamilton, and Tiffany Chin, among others. She passed away in Los Angeles in 2001, at the age of 85.