Didrikson, Babe

Didrikson, Babe (Mildred Didrikson) dēˈdrĭksən [key], 1913–56, American athlete, generally considered the greatest woman athlete of modern times, b. Port Arthur, Tex. At an early age Babe Didrikson excelled in basketball, baseball, and track. In 1932 she won five events, tied for first in another, and finished fourth in still another event in the National AAU track and field championships. Two weeks later she won two events in the Olympic games in Los Angeles with record performances and was disqualified in a third while tied for first. From 1934 on she devoted herself to golf. In 1938 she married George Zaharias, a wrestler. She gained wide notice as Babe Didrikson Zaharias. She won the U.S. Golf Association amateur competition (1946) and 15 tournaments in 1946–47. She was the first American woman to win the British amateur title (1947). After turning professional in 1947 she won 33 tournaments (including the U.S. Open in 1948, 1950, and 1954) and was a founding member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association before succumbing to cancer. She wrote Championship Golf (1948).

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