Today we honor Margaret Ives Abbott, the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal – even if she never knew it. Playing in a nine-hole tournament in 1900 in Paris with her mother, she shot a 47 and won the cup. As the story goes, the 1900 Paris Games were so poorly organized that when Abbott signed up for the event, she didn't even know she was competing in the Olympics. It wasn't until a sports historian named Paula Welch from the University of Florida contacted her children and informed the Abbotts of their mother's gold medal that her accomplishment was recognized. Abbott, who was born on June 15, 1878, died in 1955 at the age of 78.
Margaret Ives Abbott was the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal, and she never even knew it.