BABE DIDRICKSON ZAHARIAS, American athlete died (b. 1911) Zaharias gained world fame in track and field and All-American status in basketball. She played organized baseball and softball and was an expert diver, roller-skater and bowler. She won two gold medals and one silver medal for track and field in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
Zaharias broke the accepted models of femininity in her time, even the accepted models of female athleticism. Although petite, only 5’5″, she was physically strong and socially straightforward about her strength. Although a sports hero to many, she was also derided for her “manliness.” She died ten years before the Second Wave of Feminism altered the social landscape of the United States and made women athletes, such as Billie Jean King, more acceptable.
Zaharias now has iconic status, with a museum dedicated to her, and a golf course she owned given landmark status. Despite her marriage to George Zaharias, there is keen historic interest in her from the modern Lesbian community. In 2007, Lesbian playwright Carolyn Gage started working on a full-chorus, full-orchestra musical about Zaharias (who is thought by some to have been a Lesbian) called Babe.