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Mildred (Babe) Didriksen

Inducted: 1974, athlete

Born: June 26, 1914 - Beaumont, Texas
Deceased: September 27, 1956

Events
High Jump - 1.65 m
Javelin Throw - 43.68 m
80 m hurdles - 11.70


Named the top woman athlete in the first half of the 20th century, Babe Didriksen dominated every sport in which she participated -- including track and field. After starring for her undefeated high school basketball team, she was recruited to work for Employers Casualty Insurance Co. and play for the company team. She was an immediate success and was named an All-American in her first season. The company also had a track and field team and Didriksen quickly took it by storm, winning two national AAU titles within a month of competing in her first meet. In 1931, she was a one-woman show, scoring three victories, all with American record performances, in the 80-meter hurdles, long jump, and baseball throw. Bigger things awaited her. At the 1932 National AAU Championships, Didriksen entered herself as a team, won six of the eight contested events, and finished first overall, ahead of the 22-woman team from the University of Illinois. Olympic rules limited women from competing in more than three events, so Babe settled for two golds and a silver at the 1932 Games. In the 80-meter hurdles she narrowly defeated fellow American (and Hall of Famer) Evelyne Hall in world-best time of 11.7. She set an Olympic record of 143' 4" in winning the javelin. Her defeat in the high jump was controversial, since she cleared the same height as winner (and Hall of Famer) Jean Shiley, but the jump was declared illegal because she dove over the bar. Didriksen eventually became a legendary golfer, winning 82 amateur and professional tournaments overall, including 17 consecutive championships in 1946-47. Didriksen was elected to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983. Her last name is sometimes spelled "Didrikson" but Didriksen is the name on her birth certificate.

Records Held
World Record: High Jump - 1.65 m (August 7, 1932 - )
World Record: 80 m hurdles - 11.70 (August 4, 1932 - )
American Record: Javelin Throw - 43.70 m (July 31, 1932 - )

Championships
1932 Olympics: Javelin Throw - 43.70 m (1st)
1932 Olympics: High Jump - 1.65 m (2nd)
1932 Olympics: 80 m hurdles - 11.70 (1st)

Education
high school: Beaumont (Beaumont, Texas), 1930

Occupations
Professional Golfer

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