Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson was an African-American woman who achieved greatness in not one, but two sports: tennis and golf. She found her athletic calling during a tough childhood, which she spent mostly in the Harlem area of New York City. Gibson won a college scholarship in sports after winning numerous tournaments and championships. She was the first black woman to be invited to compete in Wimbledon in 1951. She won the French Open in 1956 and Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles in 1957 and 1958. She became a tennis professional in 1959.

Her brief professional golf career wasn’t as successful as her tennis career, but Gibson nevertheless broke racial and gender barriers in golf as well. After retirement, Gibson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971. She served as the New Jersey Commissioner of Athletics and a member of the governor’s council of fitness. Gibson died of respiratory failure in 2003.

Althea Gibson is found in...

10 Athletes That Changed Sports History
( 10 items )
Item Position (rank): 2