Babe Didrikson, The Greatest Female Athlete

By | January 30, 2019

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Mildred 'Babe' Didrikson, the javelin gold medalist in the 1932 Olympics. Source: (

Before Serena Williams, Billie Jean King, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Kerri Walsh-Jennings, and Ronda Rousey, there was Babe Didrikson. Arguably the greatest female athlete of all times, Didrikson mastered several sports and helped to prove to the male-dominated sports world that girls could dominate athletics, too. Let’s see how Babe Didrikson became such a powerhouse and the Associated Press’s “Woman Athlete of the First Half of the Century.” 

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Didrikson’s Nickname “Babe” was Not a Sexist Term

Didrikson was born Mildred Ella Didrikson in 1911 in Texas. Her parents, Ole and Hannah Didrikson had come to Texas from Norway where Hannah was a standout skier and skater. Although she was not the baby of the family…she had three older siblings and three younger ones…Mildred was called “Baby” by her family. As a child, she played in a neighborhood baseball game and hit five home runs. Her teammates began calling her “Babe” in honor of home run slugger, Babe Ruth, who was everyone’s favorite sports hero of the day. Babe Didrikson never considered her nickname to be sexist or derogatory. Instead, she was honored to have a name that combined her family’s nickname for her and the name of one of the greatest ballplayers of all time.