Showed Early Promise
Peggy Gale Jenkins was born on July 27, 1948 in San Jose, California. She was the second of Albert and Doris (Deal) Fleming's four daughters. For the first several years of her life the Flemings lived in the San Jose area, where Al Fleming had a job as a newspaper press operator for the San Jose Mercury News. Fleming started skating at age nine and found it to be a good outlet for her naturally competitive spirit. Just a year after starting skating lessons, Fleming took home the gold medal in the Bay Area Juvenile Championship.
In 1960 the Flemings moved to Pasadena in southern California. Fleming's figure skating activities increasingly became the center of her family's life. Her father got up early to resurface the ice at a local rink so that his daughter could have extra practice time in the morning, and her mother sewed her costumes, found suitable coaches, and cleared away any distractions that might take her daughter's focus away from her skating. As Fleming recalled in her 1999 autobiography, The Long Program: Skating Toward Life's Victories, "I wouldn't have started skating if it weren't for my Dad, but I became a skater because of my mom. It is not stretching the point to say, 'We became a skater,' two people, one pair of skates. We each had a job to do to make me a champion skater, and I certainly didn't do it on my own."
With her family's support, Fleming rose quickly through the USFSA's ranks. She won the gold medal in the Pacific Coast Juvenile Championship in 1960, followed by another gold in the Pacific Coast Novice Championship in 1961. In 1962 she continued her winning streak with a gold at the Pacific Coast Championship and added a silver medal in the National Novice Championship. A bronze medal at the 1963 National Junior Championship earned Fleming a berth at the following year's National Championship as a senior-level skater. Astounding everyone at the event, Fleming won the title, which meant that she also qualified to go to the 1964 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Fleming placed sixth at the Games and then attended her first ISU World Championship, where she placed seventh.
Famous Sports StarsFigure SkatingPeggy Fleming Biography - Showed Early Promise, Chronology, Thrown Into Spotlight, Awards And Accomplishments, The Long Program: Skating Toward Life's Victories - SELECTED WRITINGS BY FLEMING: