Illustration for article titled Google Honors Tennis Legend Althea Gibson

Today, the Google doodle honors Althea Gibson, who won five Grand Slam Singles titles and broke the color barrier in tennis.


Born in South Carolina in 1927, Gibson grew up with a love of a sport that was largely closed to her because of the color of her skin. Gibson was only 23 years old when she became the first black person allowed to play professional tennis in 1950, just three years after Jackie Robinson debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers. She went on to win the French Open in 1956 and 1957 she won Wimbeldon and the U.S. Nationals. Larry Schwartz chronicled her story and accomplishments for ESPN:

She must have liked winning the world's two most prestigious tournaments, too, because she repeated the accomplishments in 1958.

The 5-foot-11 right-hander had a strong serve and preferred to play an attacking game. An athletic woman, she had good foot speed, which allowed her to cover the court. As the years went on, she became more consistent from the baseline. Including six doubles titles, she won a total of 11 Grand Slam events on her way to the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.


Gibson, who died in 2003, would have been 87 today.

Image via Getty Images.

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