Women of The Golden Skate: Women Single Figure Skating Olympic Gold Winners
With the Olympics right around the corner, I thought it would be interesting to take a brief look at the seven American Women have won figure skating gold.
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With the Winter Olympics just around the corner there is a lot of talk regarding how weak the American Women’s figure skating team looks. While it may be true that since the modern winter Olympics inception in 1924, that U.S. Women have seemed to consistently made a strong showing in the sport, they haven’t always won the cold. In fact, only 7 American Women have struck gold in singles figure skating in the Olympics 86 year history. Here is a little information on those women with the golden skates.
Tenley Albright suffered from polio as a young child. The doctors were not sure if she would ever walk again, but against the odds she did. She began skating as a way to help strengthen her legs and went on to become the first American woman to win a gold medal in figure skating at the 1956 Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Unlike other Olympic skaters who went on to skate professionally, Ms. Albright chose to retire from skating after the 1956 season and went on to attend Radcliffe and then Harvard Medical School. She became a surgeon.
Carol Hess Jenkins
Carol Hess Jenkins began skating at the age of 6. She won the silver medal in the 1956 Olympics coming in second to her team mate Tenley Albright. After her silver medal win Hess had many offers to turn professional but turned them down because her mother who was suffering from cancer wanted to see her daughter win Olympic gold.
Carol granted her mothers wish in the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, California having been ranked first by all 9 judges. She also had the honor at those Olympics of taking the Olympic oath on behalf of all the athletes.
Carol had a fairly short lived professional career skating in ice shows before retiring from the skating world in 1962. However, she would reemerge in the late 70’s to coach a new generation of Olympic hopefuls.
Peggy Fleming, is a remarkable athlete, Having lost her skating coach in a 1961 plane crash when he was killed along with the entire team headed to the World Figure skating championships, she began skating under Carlo Fossi. In 1968, she not only became the third American woman in history to win the gold medal in singles skating, she was also the only one from the United States to win a gold metal at all in the Grenoble, France Olympics.