Babe Didriksen Zaharias Essay Research Paper Mildred

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Babe Didriksen Zaharias Essay, Research Paper Mildred Ella Didriksen was born June 26, 1914, in Port Arthur, Texas. Her mother, Hannah Olson, was born in Norway and immigrated to the United States in 1908. Her father, Ole Didriksen, also from Norway, came to Port Arthur in 1905 and worked as a sailor and carpenter. Through her adult life she was known as Babe Didrikson, taking the name “Babe” from the sports hero Babe Ruth and the spelling of her last name, Didrikson, to emphasize that she was of Norwegian rather than Swedish ancestry. After the 1915 hurricane hit Port Arthur, the family, which included her sister and two brothers, moved to nearby Beaumont. Growing up in the rugged south end of the city, Didrikson was a tomboy who avoided feminine qualities and excelled

at a variety of athletic attempts. She was slim and average height but had a muscular body and was exceptionally well coordinated. Her hair was cut short like a boy’s, and she usually wore masculine clothing. As a youth, Didrikson had an aggressive personality and was constantly involved in fights. At Beaumont High School, Didrikson was well-known as being talented in a number of sports, including volleyball, tennis, baseball, basketball, and swimming, but she was not popular with her classmates. Didrikson was a poor student, usually passing only enough courses to keep her qualified for athletic competition. All of her energy was pushing towards accomplishments on the athletic field, where she had competition. Didrikson’s best sport was basketball, which was the most popular

women’s sport at the time. During her 4 years in Beaumont, her high school team never lost a game, mostly because of her aggressive, coordinated strategies and her competitiveness towards the other teams. In February 1930, Colonel Melvorne J. McCombs of the Casualty Insurance Company recruited Didrikson to play for the company’s Golden Cyclone basketball team in Dallas. She dropped out of high school in her junior year and took a job as a stenographer with the company with the understanding that she would have time to train and compete in sports. During the next three years, 1930-1932, Didrikson was chosen as an All-American women’s basketball player and led the Golden Cyclones to the national championship in 1931. She often scored thirty or more points when a team score of

twenty for a game was considered respectable. While in Dallas, she competed in other athletic events, including softball. Didrikson was an excellent pitcher and batted over .400 in the Dallas City league. Soon, her interest was drawn to track and field and she became a member of the Golden Cyclone track team in 1930. Profiting from coaching provided by the Dallas insurance company and relying on her natural athletic ability, Didrikson soon became the leading women’s track and field performer in the nation. Between 1930 and 1932, Didrikson held American, Olympic, or world records in five different track-and-field events. She surprised the athletic world on July 16, 1932, with her performance at the national amateur track meet for women in Evanston, Illinois. Didrikson entered

the meet as the sole member of the Golden Cyclone team and by herself won the national women’s team championship by scoring thirty points. The Illinois Women’s Athletic Club, which had more than twenty members, scored a total of twenty-two points to place second. In all, Didrikson won six gold medals and broke four world records in one afternoon. Her achievements were the most amazing feat accomplished by any individual, male or female, in the records of track-and-field history. The outstanding performance at Evanston put Didrikson in the headlines of every sports page in the nation and made her one of the most prominent members of the United States Olympic team of 1932. Although Didrikson had gained wide recognition in her chosen field of athletics, many members of her teams