Tai Babilonia

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Tai Babilonia
Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner 1983 Paraguay stamp.jpg
Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner
Personal information
Full name Tai Reina Babilonia
Country represented United States
Born (1959-09-22) September 22, 1959 (age 54)
Los Angeles, U.S.
Former partner Randy Gardner
Former coach John Nicks
Skating club Los Angeles FSC

Tai Reina Babilonia (born September 22, 1959) is an American former pair skater. Together with Randy Gardner, she won the 1979 World Figure Skating Championships and five U.S. Figure Skating Championships (1976–1980). The pair qualified for the 1976 and 1980 Winter Olympics.[1]

Career[edit]

Babilonia and Gardner began skating together when Babilonia was eight years old and Gardner was ten.[2] Their coach from 1972 until 1980 was John Nicks. The pair became five-time U.S. national champions and won the gold medal at the 1979 World Championships.[3][4] They were medal favorites at the 1980 Winter Olympics but were forced to withdraw due to an injury to Gardner.[2][5][1]

Babilonia and Gardner retired in 2008 due to a neck injury of Gardner. They had a break in 1988 when Babilonia developed an addiction to amphetamines, and even attempted suicide. She recovered after treatment. After retiring, Babilonia started her line of sportswear, Tai, with Bear Hill Sports.[1]

Babilonia was the first figure skater of partial African American descent to compete for the United States at Olympics and win world titles. She is also part Filipino on her father's side and part Native American.[1][6]

In 1990, a biographical film of her rise to fame was aired on television, "On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story".[7]

Babilonia appeared in the 2006 Fox television program Skating with Celebrities, partnered with Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner (decathlon).

Tai currently appears as a "co-host" with host Ken Boxer on the television interview talk show, "Ken Boxer Live." The show originates in Santa Barbara, California on TVSB Channel 17.

Personal[edit]

Tai Babilonia was inspired at the age of six to begin ice skating after watching Peggy Fleming on television. Babilonia has a son named Scout with former husband Cary Butler. She was engaged to actor/comedian David Brenner, but they never married before his death in March 2014.[8]

Competitive highlights[edit]

(with Gardner)

Event 1973–74 1974–75 1975–76 1976–77 1977–78 1978–79 1979–80
Winter Olympic Games 5th WD
World Championships 10th 10th 5th 3rd 3rd 1st
U.S. Championships 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
Nebelhorn Trophy 1st
Coupe des Alpes 3rd
WD = Withdrew

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Tai Babilonia. Sports-reference
  2. ^ a b Elliott, Helene (March 20, 2008). "Tai and Randy's bond is sure and steady off the ice". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ "World Figure Skating Championships Results: Pairs medalists" (PDF). International Skating Union. 
  4. ^ "Past U.S. Champions - Senior". Excel Energy Center. Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. 
  5. ^ Rosewater, Amy (January 14, 2013). "A life in skating: An interview with John Nicks". IceNetwork. 
  6. ^ Notable Filipinos Worldwide. notablefilipinos.com
  7. ^ On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story (1990). IMDb
  8. ^ Comedian David Brenner Dies at 78, by Mike Barnes and Erik Hayden, at the Hollywood Reporter; published March 15, 2014; retrieved March 16, 2014

External links[edit]