Tenley Albright is the first American woman to win a world figure skating championship and is the first winner of figure skating’s “triple crown”, capturing the World, North American, and United States ladies figure skating titles in a single year. In 1956, she became the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating. She has served on the International Olympic Committee and as a member of the United States Olympic Committee, becoming the first woman to serve as one of its officers. Dr. Albright has also been named one of the “100 Greatest Female Athletes” by Sports Illustrated magazine.
Diagnosed with polio in 1946 at age ten, when treatments for polio were not well developed, she was hospitalized and had to remain inactive for several months. Upon release from the hospital she returned to the ice and won her first skating title four months later. At the age of 16, Dr. Albright won the first of five consecutive United States singles titles and in the same year won a silver medal at the 1952 Olympics. Her gold medal came four years later at the Winter Olympics in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy.
Dr. Albright began a major in pre-medical studies at Radcliffe College in 1953, practicing her skating in the early morning hours before her classes. She took a leave of absence for one year from Radcliffe in 1955 to pursue her second world championship. After three years of study she left Radcliffe in 1956. She returned to her studies in 1957, entering Harvard Medical School as one of only five women in a class of 135, completing her M.D. in 1961.
A successful surgeon and leader in blood plasma research, today Dr. Albright is a faculty member and lecturer in general surgery at Harvard Medical School and also serves as the Director of the MIT Collaborative Initiatives. She has served on multiple corporate boards, received numerous awards and honors, and acted as a delegate to the World Health Assembly where she was involved in international polio eradication efforts.