Mabel Fairbanks

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Mabel Fairbanks (November 14, 1916-October 2001) was an African-American figure skater and coach.

She fell in love with figure skating in the 1930s when she saw Sonya Henie in movies. She could not skate in the 1930s because she was not allowed to join a skating club due to being African-American. She was secretly coached by Maribel Vinson Owen at night when African Americans were allowed admission to ice rinks. She eventually left the United States and became a show skater.

After relocating from New York to Los Angeles, she developed and skated in her own act throughout the late 1940s and toured internationally throughout the 1950s. She became the skating teacher to the children of many notable celebrities during that same period.

She coached pairs skaters Leslie Robinson and Michelle McCladdie as well as individual skaters Atoy Wilson for their entire career.

In 1997, Fairbanks was the first African American inducted into the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

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