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Tose with unique first name sought for a celebration with 1956 Olympic champion

by KAMA KORVELA When people blow out the candles on a birthday cake, they get to make

a wish. When Dr. Tenley Albright celebrates her upcoming birthday this summer, she’s hoping her wish will come true — to bring together others who share her unique first name. Te 1956 Olympic champion and her family will hold a special party in

Boston on July 19 to unite other Tenleys from across the country and around the world. Te renowned skater has had an interest in meeting other people with the same name for quite some time. “My mother has always kept a file of people named after her because

she had never met anyone else with that name growing up,” said Elee Kraljii Gardiner, one of Albright’s three daughters. “For the last few years, she played with the ‘What if?’ aspect of meeting everyone who shares her name.” In January the family launched a website (,

as well as a Twitter account (@hellotenley) and Facebook page in an effort to find other Tenleys. Albright is excited to connect with the other party guests virtually and in person. “I hope that between now and the event there will be a lot of fun collect- ing all our memories,” Albright said. “It feels a little like the first time walking into the gates of the Olympic village — finding my community with people I don’t even really know.” Tough details of the party are still unfolding, Kraljii Gardiner is opti- mistic it will include figure skating as well. “We love the idea of having the chance to skate together,” she said. “It seems like most of the Tenleys we have heard from so far are skate-friendly.” Albright was the first American female skater to win Olympic gold. Af- ter placing second at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway, she won the title at the 1956 Olympic Winter Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. After retiring from competitive skating, she graduated from Harvard Med- ical School and worked as a prominent surgeon for many years. Albright is currently the director of MIT Collaborative Initiatives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tis program promotes a systems-based approach to

Olympic champions Dick Button and Tenley Albright are cheered on at the 2014 U.S. Championships.

Tenley Albright takes a break from skating at the Broadmoor World Arena in 1952.

solving deep-rooted societal issues by engaging experts from a broad range of disciplines both within and outside the scope of a problem, according to the organization’s website. She is also still involved in the sport of figure skating, attending the 2014 U.S. Championships in Boston, where she has lived much of her life. “I loved cheering the competitors on at nationals and was thrilled to be able to award the ladies medals,” Albright said. In addition, she keeps in touch with many of her skating coun-

terparts. “I love seeing people at the ‘Legends’ shows (which bring to-

gether past figure skating champions) and sharing stories and laughs with my longtime skating friends,” Albright said. “It is so much fun to be on the red carpet with them. Two years ago I even skated with Richard (Dwyer) as one of his Dwyer Girls!” Other groups are acknowledging Albright and her accomplish-

ments as well. Te Ice Teatre of New York, the country’s premier ice dance company, is planning to honor the Olympic champion in October. “She (Tenley) told me she was particularly humbled and hon-

ored, because the thing she hoped to accomplish when she skated and choreographed her own programs — and she did all her own choreography — was to help the audience hear notes in the music they might not have noticed otherwise,” Kraljii Gardiner said. With much to celebrate in 2014, it’s sure to be a special year

indeed. 38 APRIL 2014

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