Friday, September 17, 2010

In History: Maureen Connolly

This is the 43rd post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

 Maureen Connolly was born on this day, Sept. 17, in 1934. She was a powerful tennis player, who became the first woman to win all four Grand Slam tennis tournaments -- the Australian Championships, the French Championships, Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships. And she did so at age 18, in 1953. Connolly was ranked in the world top 10 from 1951 through 1954, reaching a career high of World No. 1 in those rankings from 1952 through 1954. She was the top ranked U.S. player from 1951 through 1953. Unfortunately, in 1954, an accident crushed her right leg and ended her tennis career when she was just 19 years old. She stayed involved in tennis, as a correspondent and coach. She died in 1969, at age 34, of stomach cancer.

Connolly was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1969 and the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1987. The Maureen Connolly Brinker Foundation, which was started by Connolly and her husband, Norman Brinker, to promote junior tennis, is still in existence today.

You can read more about Connolly here, which also includes video of her, and you can read the New York Times' story about her winning the Grand Slam tournaments here. Her obituary is here.

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