Debi Thomas made history when she became the first African-American athlete to receive a medal at the Winter Olympics, but her life looks very different now.
She took home the bronze at the 1988 Winter Olympics while she was studying engineering at Stanford University. Thomas later went on to get her medical degree at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and became an orthopedic surgeon.
But as Thomas reveals in an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life airing Saturday, her successes have faded and she now lives, twice-divorced and broke, in a bed bug-infested home with her fiancé and his sons.
“Are you aware that your life has become unmanageable?” life coach Iyanla Vanzant asks Thomas in a preview for the episode. Vanzant was brought in to help Thomas address her personal and financial issues.
In the preview clip, Thomas says her athletic success was at the root of her first marriage’s failure. She also said that her personality clashes led to two job losses before she opened up a private practice in Virginia, which she had to close after two years, having lost much of her “nest egg” in a second divorce.
Thomas also lost custody of her 13-year-old son, according to the preview.
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“This is what I know: You’re living in a trailer in the Appalachian Mountains and your son ain’t with you!” Vanzant says in the episode. “You’re raising somebody else’s children!
“So you can tell me whatever you want to tell me. Telling yourself the truth is important.”
Iyanla: Fix My Life airs Saturdays (9 p.m. ET) on OWN.