Bruce Jenner and Tai Babilonia

Tai Babilonia, of Filipino, African-American and Hopi Indian descent, was born in Hollywood, CA. She and her brother grew up in the Los Angeles area, where at the age of 6, after watching Peggy Fleming ?float like a butterfly? on television, Babilonia convinced her parents to take her ice skating. At 8 years of age she noticed 10-year-old Randy Gardner, who had already been in many competitions.

By 1973, Babilonia and Gardner were the National Junior Pairs Champions and in 1974, they became the youngest pair ever to represent the United States at the World Championships. By 1976 they won the right to compete at the Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Babilonia, then just 16 years old, and Gardner performed admirably, finishing 5th. After winning five U.S. National titles, the duo became the first American pair in 25 years ? and the only Americans since then ? to win the 1979 World Champions competition in Vienna, Austria. With the highest score ever for a pairs team, they were the favorites going into the Olympic Games.

However, a personal catastrophe was to play itself out in front of millions around the world who watched the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY. Within minutes after skating onto the ice to warm up for their first competitive performance, Gardner fell due to the reactivation of a severe groin injury, forcing the couple to withdraw from Olympic competition. The devastating incident was the catalyst to a remarkable turning point in their lives and careers. The image of the crestfallen Babilonia skating off the ice with Gardner struck a chord in the American consciousness and throughout the world.

A few months after the Olympics, Babilonia and Gardner signed a three-year contract with the ?Ice Capades.? In 1987, they received one of the first Olympic Spirit Awards. 1987 also saw the twosome star in the first-ever instructional ice skating home video, ?How to Ice Skate.? Additionally, they headlined the first-ever ?Caesar?s Christmas? on stage at Caesar?s Palace in Las Vegas.

In 1988, Babilonia and Gardner starred in the landmark production ?Festival on Ice.? They have been seen in ?Las Vegas on Ice? with Wayne Newton and ?Ice Capades in Toyland,? and are frequent guests on talk shows such as ?The Tonight Show with Jay Leno? and ?The Today Show.?

?On Thin Ice,? a television movie based on Babilonia?s life, aired in 1991. Recent engagements include the 2000 hit summer production of ?Broadway on Ice? in Branson, MS, and numerous corporate engagements. Babilonia and Gardner served as official hosts for Sports Illustrated at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

In addition to their entertainment projects, Babilonia and Gardner have had a successful professional competitive career. They are the only American pair in 25 years to win the World Professional Championships, and in 1992, they were inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame. The induction was followed by their 25th anniversary of skating together, which was celebrated in a 40-city nationwide tour.

Coming full circle, Babilonia and Gardner skated at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid in February 2005.

The lifetime Los Angeles resident was chosen as one of the ?10 Most Beautiful? people in skating for 2002 by International Figure Skating magazine. Babilionia is also the designer of her own one-of-a-kind jewelry line, ?Little Winged Creations,? and with Gardner, has ventured into the literary world, exploring the pair?s career in the coffee table book ?Forever Two as One.?

Babilonia is a sought-after speaker, alone and with Gardner, and a popular television and radio guest with appearances on ?The Howard Stern Show,? ?Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and ?McEnroe.? She has been featured as the subject of an E! ?True Hollywood Story? and in the cable series ?Where Are They Now??

Babilonia supports such worthwhile organizations as Camp Laurel, an organization committed to helping children with AIDS, and the Pediatric AIDS Fund. She was recently honored by ?Figure Skating in Harlem? for her support of inner-city children.

Babilonia recently became engaged to comedian David Brenner. Her most cherished role is that of mother to her young son Scout (named after a character from ?To Kill A Mockingbird?).

source: http://www.fox.com/skating/