The Williams Sisters: Double Trouble On The Tennis Court

1498 words - 6 pages

The Williams Sisters: double trouble on the tennis court, Gabby Douglas: 2 times Olympic Gold Medalist, and Lolo Jones: a fierce Olympic competitor in hurdles and now bobsledding are all present day athletes that have captivated headlines with their accomplishments through sports. The Civil Rights Movement altered everyday life for all African Americans and soon other minorities in America. The movement also changed the world of sports for African American legends to come as well. Previous accomplishments of African Americans in sports propelled Althea Gibson to make her mark in history. Althea would change the world of sports, impact future athletes to come, and leave her mark in history. Her athletic greatness would not only be bestowed on the tennis court, but golfy would receive its fair share of Althea’s greatness as well. None of her accomplishments would have been made possible without the Civil Rights Movement that allowed African Americans to enter the world of sports.
African Americans entered the world of sports in the early 1900s when the first African American Olympian became a gold medal, Constantin Henriquez de Zubiera. He won a gold medal in rugby (Bosanac). Not only did the early 1900s open the door for African Americans, but women would also begin to infiltrate into sports as well. Women would be allowed to play in the Olympics; however, they were only allowed to play golf, tennis, and croquet. Only 19 women qualifiers made it through to the first Olympics with women participants (Bosanac). Before Althea Gibson, Margaret Ives Abbott was the first to win the singles tournament for tennis, foreshadowing Althea Gibson’s legacy to come (Schwartz). “She also won gold the 1900 Olympic games in golf just like Althea soon would. Margaret Abbott is recognized as the first female U.S. Olympiad winner” informed by a SIRS Breaking Barrier article. Therefore, people could hypothesize Althea’s accomplishments flourished through the help of Margaret Abbott who got the ball rolling for women in sports, literally. All in all these early accomplishments in the Civil Right Movement in sports helped African American women such as Althea Gibson and Margaret Abbott to pave a path for African Americans women in sports today.
The path to becoming a legend for women and African Americans in the world of sports started on a beat up dirt road, in the heat of the deep south. Althea Gibson was born on August 25, 1927 in Silver, South Carolina (Matthews). Althea was born in the time of the Great Depression in the United States. She was the daughter of Daniel and Anne Bell Gibson, who were share farmers and cotton farmers (Schwartz). Throughout her childhood, she displayed actions of being a natural athlete and quickly became proficient in paddle tennis. By 1939, at the age of 12, she was the New York City women's paddle tennis champion (Matthews). Althea, a natural athlete from the beginning, was bound for greatness. Althea would leave her childish paddle...

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