Whether it's about earning an Olympic medal or a medical degree, American former figure skater, Debi Thomas had a history of overcoming every challenge.
The Stanford alum and 1986 world champion lost both of her physician jobs and filed for bankruptcy in Virginia. She's now living with her fiance Jamie Looney in a mobile home and his two sons.
Debi Thomas Living In Trailer With Fiance Jamie Looney
Debi Thomas, 51, is the best African American figure skater in the history of the sport. She became the first black athlete to ever win a medal at the Winter Olympics three decades earlier.
Higher and higher she went in the beginning but, at present, she has nothing of her own; not even the medal she won during the game. It's now owned by the bank as she turned bankrupt.
People would barely think of someone famous and successful to lose everything at a point in life.
Thomas, a former orthopedic surgeon was declared bankrupt in 2014. Her medical license expired around the time she went broke.
Three years after she revealed her condition; losing her surgery practice, living in a bug-infested trailer, she's still very strong and has no regrets in her life.
Thomas and her fiance, Looney, a gregarious unemployed coal miner live together with his two sons in the mobile home in Richlands, Virginia.
She said that she met Looney for the first time after treating his son's broken wrist. Though there were major issues in their relationship, including domestic violence, they have no plan to separate apart.
"It may look [to] people on the outside like it’s insane, but I don’t care. I don’t care about living in a trailer. People are so obsessed with material things, but I only care about knowledge."
In addition, her fiance has part of his own struggle. He's battling substance abuse for years.
Thomas has shifted her passion from skating and medicine to hypnosis and selling tiny pieces of gold for a firm known as 'Karatbars'.
Meanwhile, she's also writing her autobiography called 'In Right Light It Looks Gold.'
Besides all the difficulties, the two are still together. We wish them to overcome their difficult days soon.
Debi Thomas; Being A Figure Slater To Losing Everything And Relationship Failures
Thomas was previously married to Brian Vander on 15 March 1988 in Boulder Colorado. After ending their relationship, she tied the knot to a sports attorney, Chris Bequette in 1996.
She was blessed with a son, Christopher Jules "Luc" Bequette born a year after they married. But the second married life also turned to unsuccessful.
Her life began to fall apart in 2012. It was the moment when Thomas and her partner Jamie Looney were fighting outside their trailer. She shot off a gun with an intention to threaten Looney.
She was quickly detained by the police and sent for psychological evaluation. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Besides her diagnosis, she was forced to close her private medical practice with $60,000 of debt. By the year 2014, she had nothing of her own. She was compelled to sell her iconic bronze medal worth about $2,200.
Here's Debi Thomas explaining her struggle and mental illness on Iyanla: Fix My Life:
When asked if the former Olympian would ever return to the ice, she addressed that she's completely 'detached from skating'.
"People who are still so focused on my skating career, I'm just like, 'Come on, that was thirty years ago. Why does it matter?"
"I'm not proud of how I performed in the Olympics at all ... The biggest disappointment isn't that I didn't win the gold, it's that I didn't skate my best."
She even lost custody of her only son in 2010 all because of her condition. Well, it also broke her from inside.
Debi Thomas: Quick Facts
- Born on 25 March 1967 in Poughkeepsie, New York and later raised in San Jose, California.
- Her parents divorced when she was a kid.
- She began skating when she was just 5.
- She won the 1986 U.S. national title and the 1986 World Championships.
- She had a keen interest in becoming a doctor. She attended Stanford University during her competitive career.
- She completed her graduation in engineering from Stanford in 1991 and also attended the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 1997.
- She became a specialist in hip and knee replacement.
- She worked for almost a year at the Dorr Arthritis Institute at Centinela Hospital in 2006.