Ex-Olympian reveals she's living in bug-infested trailer, broke and unemployed

Sporting News
Former Olympic figure skater and physician Debi Thomas was the first African-American athlete to win a medal at the Winter Games.
Former Olympic figure skater and physician Debi Thomas was the first African-American athlete to win a medal at the Winter Games.

Debi Thomas' life isn't what it used to be.

The former Olympic figure skater and physician made history when she became the first African-American athlete to win a Winter Games medal when she took home the bronze at the 1988 Olympics. She recently revealed she is now broke, unemployed and living in a bed bug-infested trailer.

"(I feel) frustrated," Thomas said in the emotional episode of "Iyanla: Fix My Life" that aired Saturday on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

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Thomas turned to life coach Iyanla Vanzant after "crippling life challenges" that stemmed from a pair of divorces that financially drained her and forced her to close her medical practice in Virginia. The two-time U.S. national champion is now living in a mobile home in the Appalachian Mountains with her fiancé and his two children. She lost custody of her 13-year-old son.

"Today I meet you in a trailer that’s overcrowded and infested with bed bugs," Vanzant told Thomas in a preview clip. "Are you aware that your life has become unmanageable?"

Thomas started a GoFundMe page in December 2014 with the hopes of raising $10,000, though she managed to collect only $3,763. She additionally laid out a number of prospective projects, one of which included starring in her own reality TV show, to help reach her donation goal.

"This cause has been developed as an emergency fund for Dr. Debi Thomas, her fiancé, Jamie Looney, and their family to restore financial stability after severe sudden financial losses over the past couple of years associated with a combination of financially crippling life challenges," the page read. "This assistance will help cover expenses while they complete their promising projects currently in the works."

Thomas, 48, had earned her medical degree after graduating from Stanford University in 1991 and went on to become an orthopedic surgeon. She claimed her personality clashes led to two lost jobs before she decided to open her own private practice, which she eventually shut down.

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