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Meet Starr Andrews: The First Black Woman to Win a Medal at U.S. Nationals in 35 Years

Star Andrew made history at the SAP Center in San Jose, California to become the first Black woman in 25 years to win a medal at the U.S figure skating championships on Friday. She received a pewter medal for finishing fourth and shared the podium with champion Isabeau Levito, silver medalist Bradie Tennell and third-place Amber Glenn.

“To be able to be the next African American woman to stand on a podium is amazing.”

-Starr Andrews.

Andrews, now 21, which is considered old in the sport, had burst onto the scene five years ago as a teenager with a bright future. She finished sixth at the competition, sparking hopes for future accolades. However, her rise was subsequently halted by recurring injuries, inconsistent performances and a heart-condition that made it difficult for her to keep her heart rate. Andrews overcame adversity and swung back into good form recently with a silver medal at Skate Canada.

Andrews told the Washington Post that she was absolutely overjoyed to represent Black women in the sports and letters from Black parents of young skaters filled her with joy.

“I can’t believe I’m the person they saw, I’m the person that wanted to make them start skating. And I think that that’s so amazing. And I’m so glad that I can be that person,” Andrews told the Post.

Andrew thanked her mother, Toshawa, who is her coach and mentor. A once-upon-a-time skater Toshawa Andrews has a microvascular heart disease that has so far resulted in 12 heart attacks.

“She’s lived a hard life. Throughout all of it, she’s put a smile on her face,” she continued. “And I think that she’s such an incredibly strong woman and person, and to be able to almost die a couple times and be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to take it to the rink’ even though she barely can function is incredible to me and just shows how strong and how supportive she is,” Starr said of her mother.

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Written by Aliyah Collins