Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Figure Skating » Tenley Albright Biography - Began Skating, Developed Polio, Won First U.s. Women's Title, Entered Radcliffe College - CONTACT INFORMATION

Tenley Albright - Won Gold Medal At Olympics

jenkins championship competition skate

Because of her stature in world figure skating, Albright was a favorite going into the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina, Italy. In the days before the competition, Albright suffered an injury that nearly put an end to her chances at a medal. While practicing, her skate blade hit a groove and she fell, her left skate blade slicing her right ankle to the bone, slashing a vein. The incident hospitalized Albright, and was front page news in Boston.

Albright's father came to Italy and took charge of his daughter's medical care. Although in pain and needing to wear a bandage outside of the competition, Albright resumed practicing. The day before the competition, Albright was still unable to do many of her jumps; but she pulled it together and won the gold medal for her graceful free skate with ten of eleven judges giving her first place.

Albright landed all of her jumps, including her single axel (which was the most difficult jump women were expected to complete at the time). She defeated 21 other competitors, including 16 year-old Carol Heiss Jenkins, a fellow American. Of her performance, she told Dick Heller of the Washington Times, "I was skating to 'The Bacarolle' from 'Tales of Hoffman.' Suddenly, the audience began to sing the words, and their voices just thrilled me. Chills were going up and down my spine. I forgot about the injury and just skated."

Albright followed up her Olympic gold with another spectacular performance, finishing second a short time later at the World Championship in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Heiss Jenkins, who finished second at the Olympics, finished first at the World Championship. Albright went on to defeat Jenkins at the U.S. championship.

Tenley Albright - Retired From Competitive Figure Skating [next] [back] Tenley Albright - Chronology

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