When it comes to picking the greatest all-round sportswoman in history – a definition that for present purposes requires excellence in at least two different sporting disciplines – there are a select few who come immediately to mind.
Perhaps the lady most frequently cited is the legendary American Mildred (“Babe”) Dridrikson Zaharias.
Dridrikson, who acquired her nickname in a nod to baseball player Babe Ruth after hitting five home runs in a children’s baseball game, first achieved national stardom in the USA by being awarded All-American status in basketball.
From there she concentrated upon track & field and – at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, aged just 21 – in all set four new world records in winning gold medals in the javelin and 80 metre hurdles and silver in the high jump.
She then took up golf in 1935, winning the Women’s Amateur title once and the Women’s US Open three times, the last in 1953 whilst recovering from the colon cancer that eventually killed her in 1956 aged 45.
After being denied amateur status, she became the first woman to compete against professional men when taking part in the Los Angeles Open in January 1938, shooting 81 and 84 before missing the cut: it was more than fifty years before another woman played in a male professional tournament.
In 1945 she became the first and only woman ever to make the cut in a regular male PGA tournament. Three years later she applied to enter the US Open but was told it was for men only.
Overnight I came across another – British – contender: Lottie Dod.
I’d heard of Dod previously – she has a special place in Wimbledon history as the youngest-ever winner (aged 15) of the Ladies Singles title in 1887, a victory she repeated the following year – but knew nothing more about her until overnight I spotted an extract from a new biography of her by Sasha Abramsky which appears today upon the website of the – DAILY MAIL
Many Rusters will be aware of this 43 year old New Zealand athlete who, after a moderately successful weightlifting career as a male, “transitioned” in 2013 and later began competing as a “transgender” female.
It was reported recently that she has now been confirmed as a member of the female NZ team selected for the Olympics.
With all due respect to Hubbard and indeed all those who have decided (or been persuaded) that that they were born in the wrong body, this selection has primarily served only to highlight the absurdities of the policies, rules and regulations governing female sport generally in the “woke gone mad” 21st Century.
Call me an ancient idiot if you will, but I reserve my sympathy for those “real” sports women who have worked and trained hard for years to excel at their chosen sport and now – thanks to the world’s embracing of “transgender rights” as a virtue-signalling opportunity – face the prospect of their chances of recognition of their efforts and/or of winning major championship medals being summarily (and unfairly) dashed.