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Billie Jean King

From Academic Kids

Billie Jean King ([[n饝] Moffit) is a professional tennis player. Born on November 22, 1943 in Long Beach, California, United States, she is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players and female athletes in history.

In 1965 she married Lawrence King and since then has been better known under her husband's family name.

Billie Jean King won the triple crown for singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in the US and Britain, and in 1972 received Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportswoman of the Year" award. She is also credited with being one of the first female athletes to speak out against sexual inequality in organized sports. In what was billed as The Battle of the Sexes, she defeated 55-year-old Bobby Riggs on September 20, 1973 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 before 30,492 spectators in the Houston Astrodome (reportedly the largest ever live audience for tennis) as well as television viewers in 37 countries. She scooped winner-takes-all $100,000 for the match.

Billie Jean King is the only woman to win U.S. singles titles on all 4 surfaces on which it has been played (grass, clay, indoor, and hard.) She is one of only 9 players to hold a singles title in each of the Grand Slam in tennis events. Billie Jean King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island in 1987. In 1990, Life magazine named her one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century".

In 1971, King (while still married) began an affair with Marilyn Barnett, a hairdresser. When this came to light in a lawsuit ten years later, King acknowledged the affair and thus became the first American athlete to openly acknowledge a homosexual relationship. In the mid-1980s, she divorced Larry King. She received an award from GLAAD - an organisation devoted to reducing discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals - in 2001 for "furthering the visibility and inclusion of the community in her work". The award noted her involvement in production and the free distribution of educational films, as well as serving on the boards of several AIDS charities. King currently resides in New York and Seattle. Her brother, Randy Moffitt, was a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.

The Elton John song "Philadelphia Freedom" is a tribute to her.

Major tournaments won

External link

  • When Billie Beat Bobby (http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0258446/) (IMDb info on the 2001 TV drama/comedy about The Battle of the Sexes)
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