Carol Heiss Jenkins

Carol Heiss Jenkins writes letter to U.S. women’s soccer team

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Carol Heiss Jenkins couldn’t make it to the U.S. women’s national soccer team’s ticker-tape parade in New York on Friday, but the 1960 Olympic figure skating champion sent her regards before the World Cup winners followed in her path up Broadway.

“Enjoy the moment. Look up at the buildings and the people above,” Heiss Jenkins wrote. “The cheering fans should make you realize your accomplishment transcends just a score in a soccer game. Take it all in, as it goes by fast. This moment in time is very well-deserved, and I hope your day is as magical as the one I enjoyed back in 1960.”

The last time a New York ticker-tape parade was held for female athletes only was singularly for Heiss Jenkins in 1960, after she won Olympic and World titles that year. (more on Heiss Jenkins’ parade here)

Heiss Jenkins, now 75, underwent hip surgery in June, heeded doctors’ advice not to travel and said she would watch the parade on TV.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 55 years since I was riding in a convertible down the Canyon of Heroes, the same parade route all of you will be riding along on Friday,” she wrote. “I was 20 years old, having just won an Olympic gold medal in figure skating, and like yours, my life was a whirlwind, flying by like the ticker tape in the sky. It was a magical day, and I remember looking up at all of these people and all of these tall buildings. It was a marvelous scene that I have never forgotten.”

Fourteen players out of the 23-woman U.S. World Cup roster won Olympic gold medals in 2012. The U.S. team must be trimmed to 18 for the 2016 Olympics, should it qualify next year.

Will Abby Wambach play in Rio?

The last woman to receive a ticker-tape parade? An Olympic champion

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When the U.S. women’s national soccer team receives a ticker-tape parade in New York on Friday, it will mark the first such celebration for a female athlete since 1960.

That’s when Manhattan confetti rained on New York native Carol Heiss Jenkins, then 20, who won Olympic and World Championships figure skating titles earlier that year.

Here’s a 1960 video report of her parade.

“You look up at the buildings, and people are just hanging out of the offices of these high buildings and cheering,” Jenkins said this week, according to the Wall Street Journal. “There was so much warmth and applause, and people were all just so genuinely happy for me. It was that small-town feeling in this huge city.”

A 1960 video report said below-freezing temperatures and brisk winds kept many route windows closed, meaning less ticker tape than expected for the March event. Some 250,000 New Yorkers showered her with confetti, according to newspaper reports at the time.

A month later, she married 1956 Olympic figure skating champion Hayes Jenkins.

Will Abby Wambach play in Rio?