“Babe” Didrikson was born June 26, 1911 and she was very athletic and a
tomboy. As a teenager she said,
“My goal was to be the greatest athlete who ever lived.” She excelled in basketball, track, golf, baseball, tennis,
swimming, diving, boxing, volleyball, handball, bowling, billiards, skating and
cycling. When she was asked if
there was anything she didn’t do or play she answered, “Yeah, dolls.”
Didrikson competed in athletics during a time when female athletes were
unaccepted. She won the female
athlete of the year six times. Once
for track and field and the other five times for golf. Her body was her most valuable possession.
Some people did not like Babe but others were thrilled by her athletic ability. She excelled in competition and often her teammates and competitors did not like her. She constantly wanted attention. She did become less arrogant over the years but her attitude still remained overconfident.
was never really interested in men. She
did meet her husband, George Zaharias, at the 1938 Los Angeles golf open.
He became her manager and advisor. In
later years problems arose and Babe spent more time with her friend, Betty Dodd.
1936, as an amateur golfer, she won 13 consecutive tournaments.
The following year she was the first American to win the British Amateur.
She had 55 tournament victories. She
founded the Ladies Professional Golf Association in 1949.
In 1932, Babe qualified for five Olympic events in Los Angeles, however, women were only allowed to compete in three. She won the javelin and the 80 meter hurdles setting a world record of 11.7 seconds. In the high jump she broke the world record along with Jane Smiley at 5 ft. 5 ¼ inches. Babe earned the silver medal instead of the gold because of disqualification of her final jump. The official said her style was illegal because her head cleared the bar before the remaining parts of her body. Nothing was said about her style during the rest of the competition.
In 1933, she took up golf and became one of the most famous women golfers. She could easily and consistently drive a golf ball 250 yards.
1955, she had pain in her lower spine that was excruciating.
The pain was caused by cancer which she died of on September 27, 1956 at
the age of 45.
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