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Blanchard, Theresa Weld (24 August 1893–12 March 1978), figure skater, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the daughter of Alfred Windsor Weld, a stockbroker, and Theresa Davis. Theresa Weld attended private schools and enjoyed the privileges of membership in the Country Club of Brookline, where she learned horsemanship, tennis, and figure skating. She won her first meet in a skating event intended for males only. While awaiting the scores, she overheard one judge remark, “Give it to the pretty girl.”...

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Haines, Jackson (1840–1879), ice skater, was born in either the United States or Canada to Alexander Frazee Haines, a cabinetmaker, and Elizabeth Terhune Earl Haines. His exact date of birth is unknown, and his birthplace is still in dispute: among American cities, Chicago, New York, and Troy (New York), are often mentioned. Most sources agree, however, that he came from a prosperous family and was well educated. Young Haines left North America when he was ten years old, accompanied by a relative, and traveled to Europe to study dancing. There he not only mastered ballet but also became a skilled ice-skater. He returned to the United States a few years later because his father wished him to apprentice as a cabinetmaker, but Haines was irresistibly drawn to the stage and left home in his late teens to become a performer....

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Kurt R. Zimmerman and Sharon Kay Stoll

Harvey, Beatrix Loughran (30 June 1900–07 December 1975), figure skater and coach, was born in New York City, the daughter of Thomas Loughran, a wealthy real estate broker, and Marguerite Foley. A well-versed individual, Beatrix graduated from the Friends Seminary and Parsons School of Design before entering a career in figure skating. Her first American championship came in the ladies’ junior singles division in 1921, and she earned second place in the ladies’ senior singles event the following two years....

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Sonja Henie At the Winter Olympics. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-100744).

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Henie, Sonja (08 April 1912–12 October 1969), figure skater and film actress, was born in Oslo, Norway, the daughter of Hans Wilhelm Henie, a wealthy fur trader, and Selma Lochman-Nielsen. In her autobiography Henie described herself as sometimes feeling like a “lottery winner.” If by that she meant that she was born into circumstances allowing her the opportunity to develop into a world-class athlete, she was certainly correct. Her father was a champion sportsman himself and encouraged her to skate and ski from an early age. Once her talent for figure skating became apparent, her parents invested a portion of their wealth in her skating career, providing her with the coaching, dance lessons, costumes, and tutors that allowed her to quit school and concentrate on her sport....

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Owen, Maribel Yerxa Vinson (12 October 1911–15 February 1961), figure skater and coach, was born in Winchester, Massachusetts, the daughter of Thomas A. Vinson, a lawyer, and Gertrude Cliff. Growing up in a skating family, Maribel seemingly began her life on the ice. Her father had competed in North American skating competitions in the 1890s using the “Old American” style of skating and was a runner-up in international competitions in Canada. He gave Maribel piggyback rides across the ice at the age of two, and she first skated at the age of three at an outdoor rink in Cambridge. Maribel won her first championship at the age of eleven, winning the ladies’ singles at the Cambridge Skating Club in Boston. At twelve she won the Junior Nationals held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after being promised a meal of lobster, her favorite food, if she did well. In 1925, at the age of fourteen, Maribel placed third in the National Seniors competition, behind ...