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Teachers can find prepared lesson plans featuring Tenley Albright in the Achievement Curriculum section:
The Amazing Olympic Games

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Tenley Albright
Tenley Albright
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Tenley Albright Biography

Olympic Gold Medal Figure Skater

Tenley Albright Date of birth: July 18, 1935

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  Tenley Albright

Tenley Emma Albright was born in Newton Center, Massachusetts. Her father, Hollis Albright, was a prominent surgeon in Boston. She put on her first pair of skates when she was eight years old and, at nine, began to learn figure skating. At 11, she was suddenly stricken with poliomyelitis and was confined to her bed, unable to walk.

As she recovered the use of her legs, she took up skating again and, only four months later, won the Eastern United States Junior Ladies Figure Skating competition. She won her first national Novice title at age 13, the national Junior title the following year and, at age 16, the U.S. women's championship. She won a silver medal at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway.

The following year, still only 17, Tenley Albright became the first American woman to win the World figure skating championship at Davos, Switzerland. In rapid succession she added the North American title, and a second national championship.

After an international exhibition tour, she entered Radcliffe College as a pre-med student, with the intention of following in her father's footsteps as a surgeon. She rose at four each morning to practice before classes, and managed to skate seven hours a day while still attending classes. She successfully defended her U.S title in 1954 and 1955 and won a second World Championship in 1955.

Tenley Albright Biography Photo
Albright took a leave of absence after her sophomore year to prepare for the 1956 Winter Olympics at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. While training, she fell on the ice, and her left skate cut a severe gash in her right ankle. She resumed practice immediately after treatment and, two weeks later, won the Gold Medal for figure skating.

A few weeks later, she lost her World title to long-time rival Carol Heiss, but bested Heiss the following month at the U.S. championships.

Within a year of her Olympic triumph, Albright retired from competition skating. She turned down lucrative offers to skate professionally and entered Harvard Medical School. After medical school, she married and has raised three daughters.

Dr. Albright practices general surgery in Boston and is engaged in blood plasma research at the Harvard Medical School. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the U.S Olympic Committee, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Sports Medicine, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and the U.S. Figure Skating Association Hall of Fame. In 1988 she was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

This page last revised on Oct 05, 2007 18:10 EDT
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