Tai Babilonia

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games, Non-starter
SexFemale
Full nameTai Reina•Babilonia (-Butler)
Used nameTai•Babilonia
Born22 September 1960 in Los Angeles, California (USA)
Measurements159 cm / 46 kg
AffiliationsLAFSC, Los Angeles (USA)
NOC United States

Biography

Tai Babilonia skated pairs with Randy Gardner. Together they were the US pairs champions from 1976-80. In 1979, they won the World Championships, only the second US pair to ever do so, interrupting the long reign of Irina Rodnina, who had won ten straight World titles (1969-78), first with Aleksey Ulanov, and later with Aleksandr Zaytsev. However, Rodnina and Zaytsev did not compete in 1979 as she was having a baby. But they returned for 1980 and the 1980 battle between the two pairs was expected to be one of the best events at the Lake Placid Olympics. But it never came to be. Gardner pulled a groin muscle in training at Lake Placid. On the day of the competition, he was given a local anaesthetic to kill the pain, but could not control his leg, and after dropping Babilonia several times in warm-ups, they were withdrawn and did not compete.

Babilonia and Gardner had a long professional career together, skating through 2008 when a neck problem of Gardner’s forced their retirement. In 1988 that career was interrupted when Babilonia was found to have an addiction problem with amphetamines and also attempted suicide. After treatment, however, she recovered and they returned to the ice. Babilonia has become active designing her own line of sportswear with Bear Hill Sports, called Tai. She is of mixed Filipino, Native American, and African-American heritage and can be said to be the first African-American to have competed in figure skating at the Olympics for the United States.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1976 Winter Olympics Figure Skating (Skating) USA Tai Babilonia
Pairs, Mixed (Olympic) Randy Gardner 5
1980 Winter Olympics Figure Skating (Skating) USA Tai Babilonia
Pairs, Mixed (Olympic) Randy Gardner DNS

Special Notes