‘Breaking the Ice’ Star Rory Flack Made Figure Skating History in the ‘90s — Let’s Meet Her

As the first Black woman to win the U.S. Open Professional Figure Skating Championships, Rory redefined the traditionally white-dominated sport.

Haylee Thorson - Author

Jul. 7 2023, Published 12:53 p.m. ET

Professional skater Rory Flack’s time-honored career is legendary in and of itself.

As the first African American woman to win the U.S. Open Professional Figure Skating Championships, the athlete redefined a traditionally white-dominated industry.

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And now, with her new series, Breaking the Ice, the professional skater hopes to provide further representation by spearheading the first all-diverse, competitive synchronized ice skating team.

So, who is Rory, and what does she hope to accomplish with her reality show? Here’s what you should know.

Breaking the Ice star Rory Flack shares an Instagram photo
Source: Instagram/@roryflack
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Who is Rory Flack from ‘Breaking the Ice’?

When speaking with People ahead of the WE tv reality show’s July 2023 debut, the skating legend got candid about her experience working with a group of 10 middle school and high schoolers from different backgrounds.

"The quickest bonding was the color of their skin," Rory recalled. "When they all got there, they were so excited to meet these other girls that they didn't even know … The first month of practice was off-ice, but they really had to bond, and you can't bond when you're worrying about your skill.”

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The professional skater’s reality television endeavor isn’t the beginning of her efforts to diversify the sport. In 1992, Rory founded the Color of Ice Productions Inc., “the first completely diverse ISI administrative academy.”

“Since 1992, Mrs. Rory's Academy training concepts and unique choreography [have] helped produce Champions of all levels from the United States and around the world,” the Color of Ice’s website reads.

‘Breaking the Ice’ star Rory Flack has famous family ties.

Roberta Flack attends Black Girls Rock! 2017 backstage at NJPAC
Source: Getty Images

Roberta Flack

Rory isn’t the only Flack who has made history. The Breaking the Ice star is related to American R&B icon Roberta Flack, the only solo artist to snag Record of the Year at the Grammys two years in a row.

Best known for her hits “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” “Where Is the Love,” and “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” Rory’s relative dominated the Billboard charts with her jazz, soul, and R&B sound.

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"I always keep in my mind the advice that she gave me when I was 17 years old: 'Don't let anything stop you,’” Rory said of Roberta.

“She's like, 'There [are] so many things that can get in the way, and you have to push those things aside. You can't let them stop your dream because no matter what your dream is there for a reason.'"

Rory Flack from ‘Breaking the Ice’ champions ice skating diversity efforts.

When Rory isn’t running the Color of Ice Academy, she oversees her Black Ice Matters program.

“Every two or three months, we do a fundraiser with Double Good Popcorn,” the star explained. “And half of that money goes into these skaters. I really want to make sure that the parents can be comfortable so the kids can grow."

And with her new reality series amplifying her platform, Rory hopes to spread the word that anyone can make a name for themself in the figure skating world. “We really want to bring the urban streets onto the ice,” the rising reality star said. “I want to make sure everybody joins us."

Breaking the Ice airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on WE tv.

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