Surya Bonaly | Golden Skate

Surya Bonaly

Jan 24, 2006
Surya Bonaly is a former French Ladies figure skater. She was born on 15 December 1973 in Nice, France.

She is a three-time World silver medalist (1993–1995), a five-time European champion (1991–1995), the 1991 World Junior Champion, and a nine-time French national champion (1989–1997). She represented France at three Olympic Games: she was 5th in 1992, 4th in 1994 and 10th in 1998. During the LP at her third Olympic Games in Nagano she wrote a new page in ISU's history by performing a banned element: a blackflip landed on one blade. She was penalized for it, but never regretted her decision.

Her first name was Claudine, but her adoptive parents changed it to Surya. During many years and supported by Didier Gailhaguet, Surya's first coach, they also claimed she was born on the Reunion Island, as they thought it sounded more exotic and would catch the attention of the press.

She retired after the 1998 Olympics and until 2007 toured with Champions on Ice.

In 2004 she obtained U.S. citizenship and currently she dedicates to coaching.


Social Media
Twitter -

Programs and Videos
SP: "Caravan"
LP: "The Four Seasons" by A. Vivaldi

XVII Winter Olympic Games Nagano 19981998 European Championships1998 French Nationals1997 GP Skate Canada

1997 European Championships1997 French Nationals1996 Centennial on Ice
SP: "The Locket Hunt" by Patrick Doyle / "Little Princess"
LP1: music from Cirque du Soleil
LP2: "Die Irrfahrt um's Glück" / "Swan Lake" / "Paquita"
Ex: "Circle of Life" from "Lion King of the Jungle" / "The Wall" - "Check Point" - "Un Parfum de fin du Monde" - "Love for Ever" by Osvaldo Camahue, Czech Jazz & Symphonic Orchestra

1996 World Championships1996 European Championships1996 French Nationals1995 GP NHK Trophy1995 GP Trophée de France1995 GP Skate America
SP: "Cries of Beirut" by Dana Dragomir
Ex: "From the Death of Innocence" by DJ Trastornado

1995 World Championships1995 European Championships1995 French Nationals1994 GP NHK Trophy1994 GP Trophée de France1994 GP Skate America1994 Goodwill Games
SP: "The Cries of Beirut" performed by Dana Dragomir
LP: "The Four Seasons" by Antonio Vivaldi
Ex: "From the Death of Innocence" by DJ Trastornado / "Carnaval de Venise" by Mado Robin

1994 World ChampionshipsXVI Winter Olympic Games Lillehammer 19941994 European Championships1994 French Nationals1993 Grand Prix International de Paris1993 GP NHK Trophy1993 GP Skate America1993 Piruetten
LP: "The Four Seasons" by A. Vivaldi

1993 World Championships1993 European Championships1993 French Nationals1992 Grand Prix International de Paris1992 GP NHK Trophy
SP: "Zorba the Greek"
LP1: "Gaîté Parisienne: Can Can" (Offenbach)
LP2: "Malagueña"
Ex: "Un bel di vedremo" from "Madame Butterfly" performed by Mirella Freni

1992 World ChampionshipsXV Winter Olympic Games Albertville 19921992 European Championships1991 Grand Prix International de Paris1991 GP NHK Trophy1991 GP Skate Canada1991 GP Skate America

1991 World Championships1991 European Championships1991 World Junior Championships1990 Grand Prix International de Paris1990 Goodwill Games
LP: "The Feeling Begins" & "Sheherezade"

1990 World Championships1990 European Championships
1989 GP Skate America​


1989 World Championships1989 European Championships1989 World Junior Championships1988 Grand Prix International de Paris
1988 World Junior Championships

XVII Winter Olympic Games Nagano 199861110
1998 European Championships276
1998 French Nationals122
1997 GP Cup of Russia244
1997 GP Skate Canada333
1997 European Championships6109
1997 French Nationals211
1996 World Championships755
1996 European Championships122
1996 French Nationals111
1995 GP NHK Trophy254
1995 GP Trophée de France333
1995 GP Skate America544
1995 World Championships422
1995 European Championships

1995 French Nationals211
1994 GP NHK Trophy322
1994 GP Trophée de France311
1994 GP Skate America

1994 Goodwill Games211
1994 World Championships222
XVI Winter Olympic Games Lillehammer 1994344
1994 European Championships111
1994 French Nationals111
1993 Grand Prix International de Paris

1993 GP NHK Trophy311
1993 GP Skate America

1993 Piruetten444
1993 World Championships322
1993 European Championships111
1993 French Nationals111
1992 Grand Prix International de Paris

1992 GP Nations Cup

1992 GP NHK Trophy511
1992 World Championships101211
XV Winter Olympic Games Albertville 1992365
1992 European Championships111
1992 French Nationals111
1991 Grand Prix International de Paris555
1991 GP NHK Trophy222
1991 GP Skate Canada1
1991 GP Skate America

1991 World Championships465
1991 European Championships

1991 French Nationals111
1991 World Junior Championships111
1990 Grand Prix International de Paris111
1990 GP Skate America

1990 Nebelhorn Trophy

1990 Goodwill Games

1990 World Championships7109*
1990 European Championships334
1990 French Nationals211*
1990 World Junior Championships

1989 Grand Prix International de Paris

1989 GP Skate America846
1989 GP Skate Canada

1989 Nebelhorn Trophy

1989 World Championships9710*
1989 European Championships848*
1989 French Nationals

1989 World Junior Championships

1988 Grand Prix International de Paris

1988 French Nationals3
1988 World Junior Championships161314*

* Until 1990 at ISU championships single skaters, apart from the short or technical program and long or artistic program, also performed compulsory figures. Since the above table does not include the results obtained in this segment, below a brief summary of Surya's placements:
- At the 1990 World Championships Surya was 15th in CF.
- At the 1990 French Nationals she was 1st in CF.
- At the 1989 World Championships she was 16th in CF.
- At the 1989 European Championships she was 17th in CF.
- At the 1988 World Junior Championships she was 17th in CF.

Professional competitions
2000 Ice Wars: Four the World2000 Goodwill Games2000 World Pro Championships
TP: ("Ninkou Latora" - Cirque du Soleil)
AP: ("Dancin' Fool" by Copacabana)​
1999 World Pro Championships1999 Keri Lotion Figure Skating Challenge program - "Cuore Senza Sangue" by Emma Shapplin -
1999 Ice Wars Four the World1998 Skate TV Championships
TP: ("Spice Up Your Life" by Spice Girls)

Galas and Exhibitions
December 2012 - Surya Bonaly 2012 Les Etoiles de la Glisse exhibition program 1 -
December 2012 - Surya Bonaly 2012 Les Etoiles de la Glisse exhibition program 2 ("Welcome to Burlesque" by Cher) -
2011 Ai Golden Celebrities On Ice - ABBA medley -
2011 Ai Golden Celebrities On Ice - "La Bella e la Bestia" -
8 December 2010 - Surya Bonaly 2010 Kaleidoscope exhibition program ("Ballroom Blitz") -
2009 - Les étoiles de la glace: Surya Bonaly sur "Le bien qui fait mal" de Mozart -
2009 Ice Jewelry -
2006 Post-Olympic Gala Exhibition - ("Dancin' Fool")
2006 Celebrity on Ice - "Carmine Meo" by Emma Shapplin -
2002 Champions in Ice - ("March With Me" by Monstessat Caballe & Vangelis)
2000 Winter Champions on Ice -
1998 Ice Girls - "New Pigvag" by Slam Jam -
1998 improve-Ice - "Why Haven't I Heard From You" by Reba McIntyre -
1993 - Surya Bonaly & Philippe Candeloro 1993 Lysiane Lauret Trophy exhibition program -

Interviews, Articles and Other Media
22 March 2019 - Surya Bonaly's Backflip | Official Clip | Losers | Netflix -
14 December 2018 - Surya Bonaly at the Jason Show -
13 July 2018 - Radiolab - On the Edge -
22 March 2018 - REBEL ON ICE-ESPN "SURYA BONALY "Special Story produced by Eva Longoria -
6 March 2018 - Willing to change the rules for a brighter future | Surya Bonaly | TEDxTorino -
14 December 2017 - "Three Time Olympian Surya Bonaly Ice Skates in Wyandanch Plaza" by My Long Island TV -
24 April 2016 - TSL Talks Surya Bonaly on Radiolab and Recaps the 2016 Team Challenge Cup -
22 February 2017 - Surya Bonaly's AMAZING Backflips -
16 May 2016 - "Meet Surya Bonaly: The Backflipping Black Figure Skater Changed Sports Forever" by POPSUGAR Entertainment -
14 May 2016 - "How Backflipping Black Figure Skater Surya Bonaly Changed Sports Forever" by POPSUGAR Entertainment -
26 November 2013 - "Surya Bonaly : «Oui, j'ai vécu une période d'injustice»" by Le Figaro -

Hors Limites podcast series about Surya Bonaly by Anne-Cécile Genre and Théo Boulenger for Binge Radio (in French) - November 2018
Prologue -
Episode 1 - Un corps extraordinaire - /
Episode 2 - Dépassement -
Episode 3 - Le feu des projecteurs -
Episode 4 - Le paramètre humain -
Episode 5 - Etre née quelque part -
Episode 6 - La tête à l'envers -

1986 - Surya Bonaly Tumbling World Championships -
Last edited by a moderator:
Jan 24, 2006
I've just started a thread dedicated to Surya Bonaly, one of the most successful Ladies figure skaters. Although she never reached the Olympic podium, she is a three-time World silver medalist and a five-time European champion. I always liked her programs because she was so different from other ladies skaters, so strong and so athletic. And I also remember her famous backflip landed on one blade during the 1998 Olympic Games and my astonished comment: "Oh, my God. She's just done an illegal element!". I think at that point she had nothing to lose. She was about to terminate her career and nothing could affect her reputation. And she said goodbye to the judges on her own terms :)

The thread is still under construction. I will add as many videos as I'll be able to find and other stuff related to her. By no means, she was someone very rare and special in the 90s.


Insert weird opinion here
Record Breaker
Feb 22, 2014
Excellent choice of Fan Fest!

I have the vaguest memory of Surya competing at the 1998 Olympics and doing her backflip and my mother and I were like "NO WAY!" I'm sure also that I thought she should have won :laugh:
Jan 24, 2006
Finally I've been able to complete Surya's thread. I've added as many competitive videos as I could find and quite a lot of her shows and professional competitions. I had terrible problem with the music she used in her programs as there's hardly any information, she used to return to the music skated in previous seasons and she was known to change the music in the last moment.

I've also added links to a series of French podcasts that was aired last year and may be of some interest to the French-speaking fans. She was also a speaker at the TED Talks and she still appears in the media. It's good to know she has not been forgotten.

Enjoy :)


Final Flight
Jan 6, 2018
Wow, thank you for the extensive list of links to her programs. I missed out some of these and I love to rewatch many of her programs.

She was the one who brought me to figure skating fandom.


May 7, 2020
One of the most talented and misunderstood skaters! I loved watching her skate, but it was frustrating that she didn’t get the recognition she deserved. That one-footed backflip, love it!!