Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 29 November 2009





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Olympic Medals then came through mail

OLYMPIC GAMES: The Olympic Games in ancient times and the present day Games show how advanced the present day Games are.

Congratulations ... Kitty Godfree - former Wimbledon queen (right) receives the special memento from the Duchess of Kent during the 1984 Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

An Outstanding player Kathleen 'Kitty' Godfree is particularly renowned for winning 5 medals, including Gold, over two Olympic Games (1920 and 1924), the most Olympic tennis medals won by any player. Kitty won Wimbledon twice (1924 and 1926), scooping both the singles and mixed doubles titles. She shared the 1926 mixed doubles win with her husband Leslie Godfree - they are the only husband and wife team to win this title together.

Here's classic case - when Kitty Godfree won the Olympic medals for tennis, she received them through the mail that's around 64 years ago. But she remembers the occasion very well. There were no fanfares or medal ceremonies. "I never got up on a podium or anything like that. I received my medals in the post", she has said.

The good old lady of tennis, who was the longest surviving Olympic medallist at 92 years, made a special trip for the Seoul Olympic Games in to witness tennis return to the Olympics as a medal event for the first time since 1924.

She was of the view that tennis should never have been dropped.

On her return to witness the tennis tournament, she seemed to be thrilled. "I am so glad that tennis is back. I don't care that they are professionals, you have to move with the times", she said.

Kathleen Godfree, born Kathleen McKane, was affectionately known as 'Biddy' to family and friends and 'Kitty' to the press. Coming from a family which enjoyed sports, she excelled in lacross and cricket during her time at St. Leonard's School in St. Andrews. During the First World War she worked in the War Office, and played at the Kew Lawan Tennis Club.

Kitty made her debut at Wimbledon in 1919 enjoyed a very successful tennis career until 1936 on Top of her triumphs at the Olympics and Wimbledon, she shared three doubles titles in the United States Championships (1923, 1925 and 1927) and featured in the earliest Wightman Cup matches (1923-1927, 1930, 1934). She was a prolific player, winning 111 of her 146 Wimbledon matches and was the only player to beat Helen Wills Moody in a singles final at Wimbledon in 1924.

Kitty Godfree loved tennis so much that she played social tennis after her active playing days until her 89th birthday. She is on record saying that it is hard to compare champions like Steffi Graf with the famous names of her generation.

Kitty Godfree is on record as saying that the modern graphite racquets have been turned out of late made a lot of difference and wooden racquets and modern rackets are much stronger. She has said that everyone can hit the ball much harder without putting extra effort into it.


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