Thursday, May 10, 2012
40 greatest female athletes: Mary T. Meagher
ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.
Mary T. Meagher, who won three gold medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and a bronze at the 1988 Seoul Games, was perhaps the best butterfly swimmer ever.
Mary T. Meagher was only 16 when she pulled off what Sports Illustrated would later recognize as one of the greatest sports performances ever.
It was August of 1981 at the U.S. long course championships when "Madame Butterfly" set a pair of world records that would stand for nearly two decades. In the 100-meter butterfly, Meagher knocked an incredible 1.33 seconds off her old world mark. In the 200 fly, she finished nearly 10 meters in front of her nearest competitor and broke her own record by nearly half a second.
Meagher, who was born the 10th of 11 children into a strict Catholic family in Louisville, Ky., is No. 32 in ESPN's countdown.