When you think of the best female athletes, your mind will likely go in a few different directions. There may be those who gravitate towards tennis star Serena Williams, or those who identify with Olympian and former UFC Champion Ronda Rousey. But what if I was to tell you that none of the legendary ladies listed comes even close to touching who I believe is the best female athlete of all time, Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Many may not know who she is because of the fact was born in 1911 and passed away in 1956, but rest assured, her 45 years on this planet were more than enough for her to show she was the best female athlete in history. If you are unfamiliar with what she did, let me enlighten you here.
From a very young age, Zaharias was noted for her extreme athletic prowess and even claimed she was given the name “Babe” after hitting five home runs in a childhood baseball game (with the name being an homage to Babe Ruth). This girl did it all and played softball, was a diver, a great roller-skater and a skilled bowler. However, it was her basketball, track and field and golf accomplishments that turned her into a worldwide star. In basketball, she was an AAU champion and All American. These are incredible accomplishments for anyone, but pale in comparison to her track and field and golf career.
As I mentioned, Zaharias was noted for a wide range of athletic talents, but it was her track and field prowess that first put her on the world stage. In fact, at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Zaharias won 2 gold medals and 1 silver medal in track and field. Her silver medal came in High Jump and her two golds came in the 80m hurdles (in which she set the world record) and the Javelin throw. After the Olympics, Zaharias decided the next logical step in her career was to take up golf, which she did in 1935, which made her a real latecomer to the sport as she didn’t pick it up until she was 24 years old.
But that didn’t matter, she will go down as the best female golfer in history. Not only did she dominate the female game with 82 wins (including an amazing 14 straight tournament wins), but she also tried her hand at taking on the men, a feat that no other female had tried until her. Not only did she compete in numerous different men’s golf tournaments, but is also the only female ever to make the cut at a PGA tour event. By 1950, she won every single golf title available to her, which was a testament to her amazing skills and meteoric rise to the top of the golf world. However, the most impressive feat of her career was that she was able to win 1954 U.S Womens Open by 12 strokes (a record), even though she was suffering from terminal cancer, which would eventually take her life in 1956.