When 18 year-old Sybil Bauer became the first woman to break a man's swimming record, she inspired scores of female athletes to further challenge the dominance of men in athletics. Ethelda Bleibtrey, American Olympic gold medal winner turned swimming coach, was so certain that women would one day reign supreme in sports, that she began grooming her own class of "super-swimmers" toward breaking more records.
Here, she describes how women were steadily improving at golf, tennis, hockey, soccer and ice skating. She also noted that to compensate for their small body size, female basketball players relied on their natural teamwork skills and agility to beat men at the game. Sybil Bauer was no anomaly, either. Schoolgirls could run the 100 yard dash in 12 seconds, while boys of that age could run it in only 10 and a half. Rhea Riedel could throw a javelin 98 feet, and Eleanor Churchill could throw a baseball 224 feet, which wasn't far behind the 290 feet record held by a man at that point.
"I predict that Miss Bauer's swimming record definitely marks the beginning of an era when the world's sports crowns will fall, one by one, before the conquests of the 'weaker sex,'" Bleibtrey wrote. "And that eventually women will wear as many of these prizes as men."
Read the full story in "WIll Women Athletes Win Men's Crowns?"