Two American women made their mark on American sports history at the 1932 Summer Olympic Games held in Los Angeles California. Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, a Renaissance Sportswoman, competed in the Women’s Javelin Throw, 80-meter Hurdles and the High Jump. Zaharias won a gold medal in the first two events and a silver medal in the High Jump event. Following the Games, among competition in other sports, Zaharias began playing in amateur golf tournaments. In 1947, she was the first American to win the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship and three years later, Zaharias helped found the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LGPA). By the time of her death in 1956, Babe Zaharias had achieved fifty-five amateur and professional tournament wins including three U.S. Women’s Open victories. Additionally, Zaharias received the Associated Press’ Female Athlete of the Year Award a record six times between 1932 and 1954.
The second American woman who excelled at the 1932 Summer Olympic Games was swimmer Helene Madison. Competing in the Women’s 100-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle and the 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay, Madison won gold medals and set Olympic or world records in each event. Her dominance of Women’s swimming before the 1932 Olympic Games earned her the first Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year Award in 1931.