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Althea Gibson Leadership Award Currently Taking Nominations

September 10, 2007 01:29 PM

The USTA recently announced that a leadership award has been created in honor of the 50th anniversary of Althea Gibson’s U.S. National Championship title.  Each year, the Althea Gibson Leadership Award, a $2,500 grant, will be given to two junior players as selected by the USTA.  Entries will be accepted from November 1 – December 31, 2007 and an application will be available on www.usta.com beginning November 1.

For consideration, the player must be a high school student between the ages of 14 and 18 and ranked inside the Top 100 in the USTA rankings (at the section or national level in his or her age category) or have an ITF, ATP or WTA ranking. 

To apply, a player must submit a brief essay explaining how he or she embodies the tenacity, courage and leadership qualities demonstrated by Althea Gibson.  In addition, the application must include a copy of an official high school transcript, two letters of recommendation about the player’s leadership ability, and a proposed 2008 tournament and training schedule. 

“Althea Gibson led the way for millions to follow, displaying strength and an unbreakable spirit both on and off the court,” said Karlyn Lothery, Chief Diversity Officer, USTA.  “We hope to widen the net of opportunities for young minority players to develop their tennis skills while remembering the legacy of a great champion.”                                           &​nbsp;                        &​nbsp;                        &​nbsp;  

Gibson became the first African American tennis player, male or female, to win the title at the U.S. National Championships in 1957.  She was a trailblazer of great talent and greater courage, who overcame many obstacles while compiling a career filled with firsts.  In addition to breaking the color barrier in tennis (1950), she was the first African American to win singles titles at the French Championships (1956), Wimbledon (1957) and the U.S. Nationals (1957).  With her success, she became the first African American to be named Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year (1957 and 1958).  Gibson won eleven Grand Slam titles in all, adding six doubles crowns to her singles success.  

 

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