US sportswoman. One of the most talented and versatile figures in the history of sport, in 1932 she became the first athlete to win individual Olympic medals in running, jumping, and throwing events. She later became the world's leading female golfer, winning the US Women's Open in 1948, 1950, and 1954, and ten major titles in total. In 1999 the US magazine Sports Illustrated named her ‘Sportswoman of the 20th Century’.
Olympic Games gold 80 metre hurdles 1932; gold javelin 1932; silver high jump 1932
Western Open 1940, 1944, 1945, 1950
Titleholders Championship 1947, 1950, 1952
US Women's Open 1948, 1950, 1954
Tournament wins 48
She was born at Port Arthur, Texas. She was a high school basketball star and made the All-American team 1930–32. In the same period she won or shared 10 titles in six different events at the National Amateur Athletic Union track and field championships. At the 1932 meeting she single-handedly won the team event, entering eight of the ten events and coming first in five of them. Shortly afterwards at the Los Angeles Olympics she won gold medals in the 80 metre hurdles and javelin, and a silver in the high jump, events at which she was already the world record holder. In the high jump she actually cleared the same height as the winner, but her western roll style was ruled unacceptable by the judges and she had to make do with second place. She took up golf competitively 1935 and went on to win more than 40 amateur and professional tournaments, including the British and US Amateur Championships and three US Women's Opens. She was diagnosed with cancer 1953 but made a remarkable comeback the following year to win the US Open by a record margin. However, she eventually lost her fight against the disease and died in 1956 at the age of 42.