Tai Babilonia remembers vividly that day when she first watched figure skating on television and became instantly intrigued with the sport and art of figure skating. It was Peggy Fleming, the 1968 Olympic champion. The beauty that Peggy exhibited mesmerized Tai, and from that point forward, Tai knew that she would grow to feel that the ice was her home.
After learning to skate from her first coach, Mabel Fairbanks, she was paired with Randy Gardner and was placed under the instruction of legendary coach John Nicks. While rising to the top of U.S. pair skating, along the way Tai and Randy earned a spot on the U.S. 1976 Winter Olympic Team, where they placed 5th. But, even greater success was in their future. They went on to win five consecutive National titles (1975-1980). They also earned six consecutive trips to the World Figure Skating Championships.
At the 1979 World Championships held in Vienna, Austria, Tai and Randy won the title, and became the first American pair team to win gold in 29 years, a feat that has not been repeated by an American pair team to this day. This accomplishment catapulted Tai and Randy into the legendary echelons of U.S. skating history. Their world title positioned Tai and Randy as favorites heading into the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY.
But, their lifelong goals of Olympic glory would be cut short, due to an unfortunate injury to Randy, and they were forced to withdraw just as the pairs competition began.
As Tai and Randy’s amateur career came to a close, they were only beginning a illustrious professional career, highlighted by signing as headliners with Ice Capades, Tour of Champions, and other touring companies. Additionally, Tai and Randy were frequent competitors on the professional competitions, including the World Professional Figure Skating Championships, the Challenge of Champions, and many others. She has performed in some of the most prestigious venues around the world – Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City, Kennedy Center, Wembley Arena, the Universal Amphitheater, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and in special appearances for Queen Elizabeth II, and at the White House for Presidents Carter, Ford, Reagan and Clinton.
Away from the ice, Tai’s story has been one that has intrigued the American public for decades, and her life was chronicled in the television special, “On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story.” She also has co-authored a book with Randy Gardner titled, “Forever Two As One.”
She has appeared in other TV specials such as “Skating With Celebrities,” and is currently co-host of the television talk show “Ken Boxer Live,” (www.kenboxerlive.com) which originates from Santa Barbara, California.
However, Tai’s proudest achievement is her role as mom to her son Scout.
In 2015, Randy Gardner launched his autobiographical show “Go Figure,” which chronicles his public and private life, and Tai couldn’t be more proud of his courage, honesty and humor.
While forever known as one of America’s all-time great pair skating teams, Tai and Randy’s 50-year partnership has endured the status of true icons both on and off the ice.