She was called “Wonder Girl.” Babe Didrikson Zaharias broke four world records in 1932 Olympics track and field, taking home medals in javelin, hurdles and high jump. In women’s professional golf, she was first to win the Western Open three times, and the first American to win the British Ladies Amateur Championship.
The Associated Press placed her in the top 10 athletes of the 20th century.
Decades before the “10,000-hour rule,” Zaharias added relentless practice to her talent. According to sports writer Paul Gallico: “Not enough has been said about the patience and strength of character expressed in her willingness to practice endlessly, and her recognition that she could reach the top and stay there only by incessant hard work.”
Zaharias underwent cancer surgery in 1953. Within months, she was back playing, and the next year she won the U.S. Women’s Open by 12 strokes. She died in 1956 at age 45.
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