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As a full-time coach, Fairbanks molded the careers of U.S. Pairs champions Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, Scott Hamilton, 1992 Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, Debi Thomas and countless other U.S. and world champions. Atoy Wilson, the first African-American to win a U.S. skating title, was coached by Fairbanks as well.

Fairbanks was a fierce champion of equality in ice skating, and was instrumental in forcing Los Angeles’ Culver City skating club to admit its first Black member in 1965.

Fairbanks was entered in the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1997.

Fairbanks died in 2001 at the age of 85. In October 2001, she was posthumously entered into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.

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Little Known Black History Fact: Mabel Fairbanks  was originally published on

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