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“When I was at Radcliffe, I found that if I called one or two local rinks and they hadn’t sold the ice for the next morning they’d let me skate free at 4 or 5 a.m.” recalls Tenley E. Albright, Radcliffe College Class of 1957. An Olympic silver medalist at the age of 16, Albright became the first American to win the gold in ladies figure skating in 1956—while enrolled as an undergraduate.
At Radcliffe, Albright often watched the sun rise while practicing her routines alone on the ice, sometimes heading straight from practice to class.
“One day I forgot to bring my regular clothes to the rink and had to go to class in my skating clothes. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, what do I do?’ but I felt more at home in my skating clothes anyway,” she says.
Albright said she tried to keep a low profile, but being a world-class athlete had its advantages.
“Being an Olympic figure skater opened a lot more things for me,” she says. “Some of the boys would even drive me over to the rink at four in the morning.”
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