Saluting a pair of pioneers
Althea Gibson and Wilma Rudolph were part the first class elected into the Black Sports Hall of Fame when it was formed on this day in 1973. Gibson became the first black woman to win a Grand Slam singles tournament at the French Open in 1956, and she went on to win singles titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open the following year. Gibson died Sept. 28, 2003, at the age of 76. Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics in 1960 in Rome when she won the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and anchored the 4x100-meter relay. She died Nov. 12, 1994, at the age of 54. Gibson and Rudolph were joined in the first Black Sports Hall of Fame class by football player/singer Paul Robeson, basketball player Elgin Baylor, track star Jesse Owens, football player Jim Brown and boxer Joe Louis.