Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias was an American athlete who excelled in golf, basketball, baseball, and track and field. She won two gold medals and a silver in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics before turning to professional golf and winning 10 LPGA major championships.
Mildred Ella Didrikson was born on June 26, 1911, the sixth of seven children, in the coastal city of Port Arthur, Texas. Her mother Hannah and her father Ole Didriksen were immigrants from Norway. Although her three eldest siblings were born in Norway, Babe and her three other siblings were born in Port Arthur. She later changed the spelling of her surname from Didriksen to Didrikson. She moved with her family to 850 Doucette in Beaumont, Texas, at age 4. She claimed to have acquired the nickname "Babe" (after Babe Ruth) upon hitting five home runs in a childhood baseball game, but her Norwegian mother had called her "Bebe" from the time she was a toddler.
Although best known for her athletic gifts, Didrikson had many talents. She also competed in sewing. An excellent seamstress, she made many of her clothes, including her golfing outfits. She claimed to have won the sewing championship at the 1931 State Fair of Texas in Dallas; she did win the South Texas State Fair in Beaumont, embellishing the story many years later in 1953. She attended Beaumont High School. Never a strong student, she was forced to repeat the eighth grade and was a year older than her classmates. She eventually dropped out without graduating after she moved to Dallas to play basketball. She was a singer and a harmonica player and recorded several songs on the Mercury Records label. Her biggest seller was "I Felt a Little Teardrop" with "Detour" on the flip side.
Already famous as Babe Didrikson, she married George Zaharias (1908–1984), a professional wrestler, in St. Louis, Missouri, on December 23, 1938. Thereafter, she was largely known as Babe Didrikson Zaharias or Babe Zaharias.