Flashback Athlete of the Month for November 2023
Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, an iconic American athlete, rose from humble beginnings in Port Arthur, Texas, to become a sporting legend. Her remarkable journey began with neighborhood baseball, where her powerful batting earned her the nickname “Babe.”
Her promise to compete in Olympic track and field became reality at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. At just 21, she secured two gold medals and a silver, with one gold setting a new world record in the javelin throw. Her tenacity also shone as she broke her own record in the 80-meter hurdle. Though her technique in high jump led to disqualification, she still earned a silver medal.
However, Babe’s most enduring legacy was in golf, where she defied discrimination in a male-dominated sport. Her unwavering determination yielded an incredible 82 tournament victories. In 1949, she co-founded the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), expanding opportunities for female golfers. Babe earned the title of Woman Athlete of the Half-Century from the Associated Press in 1950.
Despite battling cancer, Babe’s resilience was awe-inspiring. She made a swift return to golf, winning tournaments, including the U.S. Women’s Open.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias’s indomitable spirit and athletic prowess left an enduring legacy, an inspiration for athletes across generations.