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MEMORIALS PENDING FOR ICE SKATING LEGEND.

Byline: Holly Andres Staff Writer

BURBANK - A memorial service is pending for former figure skater and coach Mabel Fairbanks, who died in Burbank on Saturday after a long illness. She was 85.

During her 60-year career in figure skating, Fairbanks helped to break down segregation in the sport and in 1997 became the first African-American woman to be inducted into the United States Figure Skating Association Hall of Fame.

She will be inducted posthumously into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 15 by the Women's Sports Foundation.

Fairbanks is credited with bringing together Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, the world champion pairs team. Figure skaters who benefited from her advice and coaching include the skating pair Richard Ewell and Michelle Mcladdie along with soloists Debi Thomas, Tiffany Chin, Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi, Rudy Galindo, Leslie Robinson and Atoy Wilson.

Fairbanks was born Nov. 14, 1915, in the Florida Everglades region. She learned to ice-skate while growing up in New York City.

She moved to Hollywood in 1940 and pursued a skating career, touring throughout the United States and Latin America. She appeared on television specials and in a range of ice shows.

Fairbanks, who lived in Burbank, is survived by her sister, Pearl Fisher, and a nephew, Alan Fisher.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Oct 5, 2001
Words:212
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