At age 11 Albright suffered an attack of polio. Skating was her therapy to regain muscle strength.
Albright won the silver medal at the 1952 Olympics. She won her first World title in 1953, silver in 1954, a second gold medal in 1955, and her fourth medal, silver, in 1956.
In 1956, while training for the Olympics, Albright fell due to a rut in the ice and cut her right ankle joint to the bone with her left skate. The cut was stitched by her father, a surgeon. At the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, she became the first American female skater to win an Olympic gold medal.
Albright retired from competitive skating after 1956 but has maintained a prominent role in the figure skating profession as a member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Albright was married to Tudor Gardiner, a lawyer, from 1962 to 1976. In 1981 she married former Ritz-Carlton hotel owner Gerald Blakeley, who shares her association with Woods Hole and is chair of The Morehouse School of Medicine.