Zaharias, b.

Zaharias, “Babe” (b. Mildred Ella Didrikson)

(1914–56) athlete; born in Fort Arthur, Texas. One of the greatest all-around athletes of all time, she was an All-American in high school basketball. In the 1932 Olympics, she won gold medals in the javelin and the 80-meter hurdles and a silver in the high jump. (She had set a world record in the high jump that was disqualified because she had used the then unacceptable "western roll.") In 1933 she turned to golf, and after winning various amateur championships, she turned professional in 1948 and won the U.S. Open golf championship three times (1948, 1950, 1954). She also excelled at swimming, tennis, and rifle shooting. She died prematurely of cancer, which she had been fighting since 1952.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.