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Tenley Albright throws a bash for other Tenleys

Tenley Albright (second from right) with her daughters Elin Gardiner Schran, Rhys Gardiner, and Elee Kraljii Gardiner.ELLEN B. ROGERS/Ellen B Rogers

In the same way that birth rates go up nine months after a blackout, the number of women named Tenley increased exponentially after figure skater Tenley Albright won an Olympic gold medal in 1956. Of course, that’s probably a fact known only to Albright, who says she has received cards and letters from people all over the world who told her they named their children Tenley. “I’d never met another Tenley growing up,” says Albright, who was raised in Newton. “But when I started to get letters here and there, I did try to keep track of them.” But she couldn’t, so for her 79th birthday, Albright and her three daughters used social media to invite other Tenleys to help her celebrate at a party at the Boston Skating Club. (On the Web, Albright was mynameis, on Twitter @hellotenley, and she created a Facebook page “My Name Is Tenley.”) Dozens of Tenleys RSVP’d and 66 showed up at Saturday’s unusual shindig, which included dinner, photos with Albright, and a performance by 11-year-old skater Tenley Rutledge directed by Albright’s daughter, Elin Gardiner Schran, herself a skater-choreographer. “We had Tenleys from London and Holland and South Dakota and Canada,” said Albright. “I never knew I had such a big family.” When her figure skating career was finished, Albright followed in her father’s footsteps and became a surgeon. She now serves as director of the MIT Collaborative Initiatives. Asked Monday about the origin of her name, Albright laughed. “I asked my mother and I thought there would be a very interesting answer. But she said, ‘I like the sound of it.”