A Woman to Know: Babe Didrikson Zaharias

She is beyond all belief until you see her perform. — writer Grantland Rice

(image via NPR)


As a child, Babe loved roller skating, diving and bowling. As an adult, she boxed, hustled pool and shot hoops with the best of them (in the 1930s, "the best of the them" just meant all dudes). In her 20-year career, she won gold medals in Olympic track and field and added 10 major LPGA championships to her list of accomplishments. In 1950, she broke records by winning the "Grand Slam" of women's majors: the U.S. Open, the Titleholder's Championship and the Women's Western Open.

But even as she continued to win awards, championships and medals, she also fought the contemporary ideas of what a "female athlete" should look like. And today, sportswriters continue to debate if she was, indeed, the greatest athlete who ever lived.

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