Being a professional athlete is something that takes unimaginable strength and willpower, but Althea Gibson had to overcome much more than just her opponents on the court. She is known for being a professional golfer and tennis player, but she is better known for being one of the first athletes to break down the barrier of color in international tennis. She did not let being an African American woman hold her back in any way. It is important to understand what the major accomplishments of Althea Gibson were and the type of impact that they had on culture as a whole. Here are some of the top accomplishments of Althea Gibson.
1. Grand Slam
Not only was she able to break the color barrier in international tennis, but she was also known as one of the very best athletes in the sport. She was able to win the Grand Slam in 1956 when she won the French Open for the first time. She became the first African American to win this title, which was a huge honor at the time.
She was not allowed to compete in international tennis competitions with ease. She had to lobby for her right to compete over and over again. One of her biggest accomplishments was simply not giving up or giving in. If she would not have fought for her right to compete in international tennis matches she never would have been able to win the Grand Slam. Even though she faced barriers and some backlash, she never allowed this to hold her back in any way and was not afraid to lobby for rights that he felt were hers.
3. Athlete of Year
Due to her excellence in tennis, she was able to nab female athlete of the year in 1957 and 1958. Due to her accomplishment, she was able to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She was the first female African American to ever be on the cover of SI magazine. Not only was she being recognized for her greatness, but she was also a great example showing young African American girls that they too could pursue athletics in a real way and did not have to be held back by the color of their skin.
4. Other Sports
She was known as a great tennis player, but she was such a strong athlete that she also played other sports including golf. She is one of the first athletes to compete in multiple sports professionally.