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"It's not enough just to swing at the ball; you've got to loosen your girdle and really let the ball have it."

by Heather Z.

Mildred "Babe" Didrikson, born on June 26, 1911 in Port Arthur Texas, has been voted "best woman athlete for the millennium." In her life, she set many records. As a kid Didrikson played baseball, and got the nickname "Babe" because people thought she hit as well as Babe Ruth. Basketball, diving, swimming, track, golf, tennis, bowling, and lacrosse were the sports Babe played as a kid.

Didrikson did very well in track, which brought her to the 1932 Olympics. She got gold medals in 2 out of the 3 events she entered. After the Olympics she took up golf, and became such a great golfer that within a few tournaments she turned pro. In California (where Didrikson golfed) she met George Zaharias, and married him.

Didrikson entered the British Women's Amateur Tournament and was the first American women to win it. In that same year both of her parents died. This devastated her, but being strong she returned to the golf course about a week later.

In 1949, Didrikson formed the Ladies' Professional Golf Association. In 1953, her life changed. She got a hernia and needed an operation. It was a success, and she entered a few more tournaments. But shortly thereafter she got cancer. She battled back and overrode this cancer. But only weeks later she was informed she had cancer again, and this time it didn't go away. She hung on for awhile, but on September 27, 1956, she lapsed into a coma and died.

Babe Didrikson is my hero because I am an athlete, and I admire her courage and determination. She worked hard, and even with the hardships she went through, she accomplished her goals. I don't play golf, but I am glad she set up Women's Golf. She showed that women are just as good as men and can do anything that men can. Her famous quote, "I'm gonna whup em' all" will be remembered for a long time.

Written by Heather Z.
Last changed on: 7/9/2007 1:13:14 PM

Didrikson was listed second in Sports Illustrated's "Top 100 Women Athletes."

Heroine Worship: Babe Zaharias From the New York Times Magazine

Babe Didrikson Zaharias: The Making of a Champion
by Russell Freedman

Babe Didrikson: The Greatest All-Sport Athlete of All Time
by Susan E. Cayleff
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