Former Olympic Medalist Debi Thomas Reveals Why She’s Broke And Living In A Bug-Infested Trailer

At the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Debi Thomas made history as the first African-American athlete to win a medal at any Winter Olympics. Though a stumble cost her the gold, she took home the bronze medal for her performance figure skating in the ladies singles event. Fast forward nearly 30 years later to the present day, and Thomas says she’s broke and jobless, living in a bed bug-infested trailer. She’s also lost custody of her teenage son.

After winning the bronze medal, Thomas retired from figure skating and got her degree in engineering from Stanford University. Debi then went on to get her medical degree from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and became an orthopedic surgeon.

Debi Thomas Olympic skater
Debi Thomas at the 1988 Winter Olympics (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

So how did Thomas go from making history and having a career to hitting rock bottom? How did she lose it all?

Thomas, now 48-years-old, is asking life coach Iyanla Vanzant for personal and financial help in getting her life back on track, revealing what she believes caused her to end up losing her job, her son, and her savings in an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life. The show aired Saturday, November 7, on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

“Are you aware that your life has become unmanageable?” Vanzant asks Debi in a preview for the show.

Debi tells Vanzant she’s “frustrated” with her situation and ends up breaking down in tears upon further questioning.

Debi Thomas began ice skating when she was just 5-years-old. At the age of 9, she won a competition, and her skating career began. Thomas reveals the very success she once enjoyed was at the root of her problems with her first marriage, causing it to fail. She claims her husband couldn’t handle her success. Debi also says she lost most of her “nest egg” in a second divorce.

Olympic medalist Debi Thomas
Former Olympic figure skater Debi Thomas started skating at the age of 5 (Photo by Jonathon Fickles/Getty Images)

Thomas currently lives in a bed bug-infested trailer in Virginia with her fiancé, Jamie Looney, and his two sons. She doesn’t have custody of her own 13-year-old son, Christoher Jules “Luc” Bequette, from her second marriage. According to the NY Post, Looney has anger issues. The Huffington Post reports Looney is also battling an alcohol problem.

Thomas’ trailer is so infested, she had to meet with Iyanla Vanzant in Vanzant’s RV for the interview.

In the preview for her show, life coach Iyanla brings up Debi’s living situation, and while it may seem like she’s being harsh, she’s straightforward with Thomas and avoids beating around the bush.

“This is what I know: You’re living in a trailer in the Appalachian Mountains and your son ain’t with you! You’re raising somebody else’s children! So you can tell me whatever you want to tell me. Telling yourself the truth is important.”

Thomas says she lost two jobs as an orthopedic surgeon due to “personality clashes” before opening up a private practice in Virginia. Debi says the high expectations she held herself to led to arguments with colleagues, causing her to lose those two jobs, the Huffington Post reports. After the divorce from her second husband, she claims she lost much of her “nest egg” and had to close her private practice, which left her in the midst of a financial crisis.

The Daily Mail reports Debi Thomas attempted to collect donations through a GoFundMe page. In a video on the page, Thomas says she is trying to restore “financial stability after severe sudden financial losses over the past couple of years associated with a combination of financially crippling life challenges.”

Thomas in the video also says, “What we need now is help keeping our heads above water until we can make our dreams a reality.”

The goal was to collect $10,000, but only $2,000 was collected after 10 months, falling short of the goal. One of Debi Thomas’ proposals on the page was to possibly star in a reality show.

Is Debi Thomas prepared to face some harsh truths in order to turn her life around? What do you think?

[Image via YouTube]