The Bonaly

By Rachell Carbajal

In 1998, a French figure skater by the name of Surya Bonaly was the first and only woman to land a backflip on ice. Surya Bonaly’s first ever Olympics was the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, and with her incredible program and hard work she placed 5th that year. Working hard once again in the 1994 in the World Figure Skating Championships, Bonaly was doing extremely well in her program until she tied with Japanese figure skater, Yuka Sato, for first place. Judges had to decide between these two talented women, but they ended up giving the first place to Yuka Sato for the 1994 World Figure Skating Championships, leaving second place to Bonaly. Frustrated by this repeated mistreatment, Bonaly expressed her emotions by taking off her silver medal, with the audience booing her off of the ice ring. This incident didn’t make Bonaly back down, her last Olympics would be in 1998 (before retiring soon after in the same year). Bonaly wanted to go out with a bang. Unfortunately, she injured her Achilles tendon, causing her to have a major setback during her program. Just three minutes into the program, Bonaly realized that she wouldn’t place with a medal. Instead, Bonaly wanted to do something for the crowd, something that would leave a lasting mark in the history of figure skating forever. “I wanted to leave a trademark” is what she said, and she did just that. In that program, Bonaly would land the first ever and only backflip on one foot, despite not only having an injury but this trick being banned since 1976. Nonetheless, Surya Bonaly landed it. The trick is now named after her: The Bonaly. A pioneer and incredibly talented french figure skater, Surya Bonaly will remain in the history of figure skating forever.