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In September, Thomas contested the bipolar diagnosis at a board hearing, records show. Her experience as a world-class figure skater reinforced this expectation and confidence.” In October, the board, citing her expired license, took no action. inside the trailer, but Looney has been up for hours, worrying.
“Last week,” she added, “I thought I was going to throw myself through the glass windows at the rink.” Then came the moment. Around this time, she treated a boy’s broken wrist, and his dad asked her out. Williamson/The Washington Post)Debi Thomas, the best African American figure skater in the history of the sport, couldn’t find her figure skates.“They’re around here somewhere,” she murmured three times. They’re really tight, though, because your feet grow after you don’t wear them for a long time.” Her medals — from the World Figure Skating Championships, from the Olympics — were equally elusive: “They’re in some bag somewhere.” Uncertainty is not a feeling Debi Thomas has often experienced in her 48 years. Thomas, a former orthopedic surgeon who doesn’t have health insurance, declared bankruptcy in 2014 and hasn’t brought in a steady paycheck in years. I look at her, wondering, ‘Why are you not working somewhere else? The per capita income is less than ,000, and the few industries left booming in the wake of mining layoffs include cash-express shops and pain-management clinics. One is inscribed with “Believe.” The other, “Reimagine.” It quickly becomes apparent that Thomas, for all of her talents, is not a good storyteller. “I’m very misunderstood because I look at the world differently,” she continues.Taylor said he sees his sister whenever commentators remark on professional tennis player Serena Williams’s muscles. “And she did it,” he said, “against the critics and against many odds.” But that victory also betrayed what would become her signature weakness. “She wanted and expected to be treated like a star,” said Lawrence Dorr, who offered her a prestigious orthopedic fellowship at the Dorr Arthritis Institute in Los Angeles, but quickly realized he couldn’t work with her. “I’ve never lasted anywhere more than a year,” she said.Figure skating was — and remains — an intensely white and affluent sport, he said, and judges recommended that Thomas “play down certain aspects of her looks,” he said. Long, once an academic at the Los Angeles university where Thomas did her residency, saw this psychology at work. Long never saw her appear to be insecure and came to recognize her confidence as a “two-edged sword.” It drove her to take greater risks than others would. “But in orthopedics, she knew she wasn’t a star,” Dorr said. It was almost like she was contrarian, like she was trying to argue with everything I do.” Difficulties with other medical professionals would come to define Thomas’s career as she left one institution after another after short periods of time. What she viewed as commitment to perfection, others perceived as recalcitrance.
“This lady completely gets me.” “She sounded to me like she was jacked up,” Looney says of the woman, whom he had overheard speaking with Thomas.