Starr Andrews makes history as first Black US figure to win Grand Prix Medal

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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In a major milestone for the figure skating community, Starr Andrews has just become the first Black US figure skater to win the Grand Prix Medal.

Andrews, 21, was competing in Ontario, Canada, last week when she made history as the first Black US figure skater to win the competition - a first in the ISU Grand Prix's 27-year history.

A nine-year-old Andrews first went viral a decade ago after she performed a skating routine to Willow Smith's track 'Whip My Hair.'

During that performance, Andrews executed six triple jumps, as well as a double axel euler triple salchow - giving her a second-place score of 191.26. Japan's Rinka Watanabe took first place with 197.59, and Young You from South Korea received bronze with a score of 190.15, per The Root.

After her winning performance last week, Andrews spoke to Team USA about her momentous achievement, stating: "I've gone into this year with a different mindset, trying to not be so caught up in my head. It helps a lot when I don't think so much. It's definitely paid off, even though my season didn't start off so strong (at Nebelhorn Trophy last month). I was still getting used to my programs."

"I think it's a huge deal, to be a woman of color in figure skating. I'm so proud I could represent. [It makes] bringing home a medal even more special," she added.

The California native's coach, Derrick Leong-Delmore, also chimed in, saying: "It's really, really important, especially with everything that's going on in the world right now. She stepped up to the challenge. The fact she made so much of a statement this week does wonders for the community and it will continue to solidify her as a role model."

The fantastic feat came several months after Andrews experienced a health scare, which she revealed to her 33,000 Instagram followers in May in a post captioned:

"Since I was about 12 years old I started getting these episodes to where my heart rate would elevate out of nowhere and I would get light headed and it was quite uncomfortable. I went undiagnosed while seeing a pediatric cardiologist. He told me my episodes were not significant enough to cause harm."

"I was dealing with this until February this year when I was diagnosed with Superventricular tachycardia or SVT by a different cardiologist. As most of you know I had to withdraw from my Grand Prix in France and that was because before I even started the program I was having one of those episodes," she continued.

"Throughout that whole performance my heart rate was above 200bpm. I was heartbroken when I had to withdraw because of it. My journey throughout all of this has taught me so much and I am so grateful for everyone who's been there for me. I received an ablation to fix this problem and I will be stronger than before. I want to thank everyone for their support and the doctors that performed the procedure," Andrews concluded.

Andrews will be soon competing in the next event of the season - the NHK Trophy in Sapporo, Japan, held on November 18-20.

Featured image credit: The Canadian Press / Alamy

Starr Andrews makes history as first Black US figure to win Grand Prix Medal

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

In a major milestone for the figure skating community, Starr Andrews has just become the first Black US figure skater to win the Grand Prix Medal.

Andrews, 21, was competing in Ontario, Canada, last week when she made history as the first Black US figure skater to win the competition - a first in the ISU Grand Prix's 27-year history.

A nine-year-old Andrews first went viral a decade ago after she performed a skating routine to Willow Smith's track 'Whip My Hair.'

During that performance, Andrews executed six triple jumps, as well as a double axel euler triple salchow - giving her a second-place score of 191.26. Japan's Rinka Watanabe took first place with 197.59, and Young You from South Korea received bronze with a score of 190.15, per The Root.

After her winning performance last week, Andrews spoke to Team USA about her momentous achievement, stating: "I've gone into this year with a different mindset, trying to not be so caught up in my head. It helps a lot when I don't think so much. It's definitely paid off, even though my season didn't start off so strong (at Nebelhorn Trophy last month). I was still getting used to my programs."

"I think it's a huge deal, to be a woman of color in figure skating. I'm so proud I could represent. [It makes] bringing home a medal even more special," she added.

The California native's coach, Derrick Leong-Delmore, also chimed in, saying: "It's really, really important, especially with everything that's going on in the world right now. She stepped up to the challenge. The fact she made so much of a statement this week does wonders for the community and it will continue to solidify her as a role model."

The fantastic feat came several months after Andrews experienced a health scare, which she revealed to her 33,000 Instagram followers in May in a post captioned:

"Since I was about 12 years old I started getting these episodes to where my heart rate would elevate out of nowhere and I would get light headed and it was quite uncomfortable. I went undiagnosed while seeing a pediatric cardiologist. He told me my episodes were not significant enough to cause harm."

"I was dealing with this until February this year when I was diagnosed with Superventricular tachycardia or SVT by a different cardiologist. As most of you know I had to withdraw from my Grand Prix in France and that was because before I even started the program I was having one of those episodes," she continued.

"Throughout that whole performance my heart rate was above 200bpm. I was heartbroken when I had to withdraw because of it. My journey throughout all of this has taught me so much and I am so grateful for everyone who's been there for me. I received an ablation to fix this problem and I will be stronger than before. I want to thank everyone for their support and the doctors that performed the procedure," Andrews concluded.

Andrews will be soon competing in the next event of the season - the NHK Trophy in Sapporo, Japan, held on November 18-20.

Featured image credit: The Canadian Press / Alamy