Former figure skater Tenley Albright was one of the ten women inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York on October 3, 2015. Her story is pretty amazing.
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Former figure skater Tenley Albright was one of the ten women inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York on October 3, 2015. Her story is pretty amazing.

Struck by polio at age ten, Albright was hospitalized for months and faced a daunting rehabilitation. With tremendous purpose and effort, four months later, she won her first skating title. She became the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating. Albright would became the first American woman to win a figure skating championship as well as the first winner of figure skating's "triple crown" when she won each of the World, North American and United States ladies figure skating titles in a single year. The first woman to serve as one of the officers on the U.S. Olympic Committee, Albright today is a surgeon and leader in blood plasma research who has worked to eradicate polio worldwide through the World Health Assembly.

Albright could do it and so could the women profiled in this article whose stories parallel her story in some way. Match the following women with her contribution:

____ 1. The 0-10 score that this pediatric anesthesiologist developed (which is named for her) is administered to newborns in hospitals worldwide at one minute and five minutes after birth.
____ 2. The first African American to win the women's title in the U.S. figure skating championship and the first African American to win a medal at the Winter Olympics, today she is an orthopedic surgeon.
____ 3. Diagnosed with polio as a child, she became the "fastest woman in the world" and won Olympic medals in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics.

A. Wilma Rudolph
B. Virginia Apgar
C. Debi Thomas

Virginia Apgar wanted to become a surgeon, as Albright did. However, the chair of surgery at Columbia University, where she was awarded a surgical internship, discouraged her as other women who had earlier tried to establish surgical practices had not been able to be financially successful. She pursued the field of anesthesiology instead, returned to Columbia University and later became the first female full professor in its College of Physicians and Surgeons. Attending many births, in 1952, she developed the first standardized methodology that assessed how well the infant had made the transition from inside the womb to the outside world. Named the Apgar Score, this 0-10 metric is determined at one minute and five minutes after birth to ascertain what type of medical attention the newborn might require and today is used worldwide. Apgar has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Like Albright, Wilma Rudolph, who had been born prematurely and was the 20th of 22 children, suffered from polio as a child. In high school, she played basketball and her natural running gift brought her to the attention of the Tennessee State University coach. At the age of 16, Rudolph competed in the 1956 Olympics, winning bronze as a member of the relay team. She trained for the 1960 Olympics while attending Tennessee State and won three gold medals, the first American woman with that accomplishment. Dubbed the "fastest women in the world", her story of overcoming polio became widely known through television. She established the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to help amateur athletes. Rudolph has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Debi Thomas' life and career parallel Albright's in many ways. A figure skater, she was educated first as an engineer and today is an orthopedic surgeon. Thomas began skating at age five. At age 10, she began training under an Olympic coach. In 1986, she became the first African American to win the women's title in U.S. figure skating. At the 1988 Olympics, she won the women's figure skating bronze medal; the first medal won by an African American in any sport at the Winter Olympics. Today, Thomas specializes in knee and hip replacements in her surgical practice. She has received many honors including being inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. Most of these women are profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. They proved that women can do it. We are proud to stand on their shoulders.

(Answers 1-B, 2-C, 3-A )

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