I have a weird confession. On weekend mornings, I love nothing more than to lounge and watch figure-skating videos. I've loved the sport since childhood, when we had a decent few Black skaters - Debi, Surya, and often forgotten Rory. I did lose interest after a while because the sport reverted to vanilla, but now that we have Mae, Vanessa, and Starr, I'm paying strict attention once more.
One of the great things about our Athletic Sisters feature is that here in the Club, we were talking about Black athletes long before anyone else (read: folks who aren't Black women) cared about them.
It's no different with lithe, graceful figure skater Vanessa James who, along with her partner Morgan Cipres, currently represents France which, if I may point out, has an insanely diverse figure-skating team. Like, there are two elite Black women currently skating and competing internationally, and they both represent France.
I've recently developed an even greater in Vanessa and Morgan recently for two reasons: 1) Their skating has vastly improved. 2) They've amassed a dedicated fandom.
Their appeal is obvious; they're a successful interracial skating couple and thus an anomaly. Vanessa is older than Morgan; usually the woman is younger than the man. They're both ridiculously attractive; Vanessa is an ethereal dark-skinned beauty with a brilliant smile. Morgan is tall, toned, and elegant, with the face and hair of a model. They're also refreshingly modern; they're often the best dressed pair and they skate to current artists. And though I doubt they're actually lovers or ever will be, it's an inarguable fact that their chemistry always threatens to melt the ice.
But what I like about them most is how they're racking up gold and silver annually now. Vanessa and Morgan don't just rely on being the young, good-looking, interracial pair; they've got the skills and medals to back it all up. Because I'll admit...there was a time when they'd come in 4th or 6th and it was straight up depressing. But now, they've turned things around. They've developed a reputation for their jumps, throws, lifts, and an overall style of choreography that's on point.
And they're still young. Hopefully they'll stick around until 2018, when they'll have another shot at Winter Olympic gold.