- Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias
Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias
Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias was voted Greatest Woman Athlete of the first half-century by the Associated Press. She excelled in many sports including track and field, basketball and golf. At the 1932 Women's AAU Olympic tryout meet she scored 30 points as a one woman team. The Illinois Women's Athletic Club, which had 22 members, finished second. She gained national attention at the 1932 Olympics when, as an 18 year old, she won gold medals in the 80-meter hurdles and javelin (setting Olympic records in both). She would have won a gold in the high jump but she was penalized for her technique and settled for silver. Babe was also an outstanding golfer, in 1946 and 1947 she won 17 amateur tournaments in a row. A founder and charter member of the LPGA she had 41 tour victories during her eight year career on the tour. She was also named AP Woman Athlete of the Year a record six times. Zaharias died in 1956 at age 43 of cancer. She was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1954.