Mildred “Babe” Didrickson Zaharias is one of the preeminent female athletes of all time. Her pioneering role as one of the first and greatest female champions challenged stereotypes of women in sports. Her athleticism and flamboyance made her a national sports icon and a symbol in the fight for women’ s social equality.
Babe excelled at a variety of athletics. As a youth, she dominated the basketball court and baseball diamond. According to legend, she earned the nickname “Babe” from the “Ruthian” home runs she launched. Ultimately, Babe’s stardom grew from her accomplishments in track and field.
At the 1932 Olympic Games, Babe stunned the world by winning two gold medals and a silver (later stripped for using an illegal technique in the high jump). Olympic glory brought Babe national acclaim and the first of six Female Athlete of the Year awards.
After conquering track and field, Babe tried her hand at golf. Once Babe learned the game, she dominated the sport for nearly twenty years. She won nineteen amateur tournaments before she was forced to turn pro. During the 1946 and 1947 seasons, Babe won sixteen of eighteen professional tournaments including the British Open, which marked the first time an American had won the event.
Babe stunned the world by winning two gold medals and a silver.