Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. . . .
While most of us look forward to summertime, with our toes in the sand, a good book in our hands, and the opening refrain from George Gershwin’s “Summertime” in our heads—these four athletes were spending their summers in pursuit of major accomplishments. These three photographs present individuals in the National Portrait Gallery collection who have laid the groundwork for the likes of Missy Franklin, Kelly Slater, and the Williams sisters. It’s your chance to tell us which of these early twentieth-century summertime athletes we should “Recognize” on our gallery walls. You may view the winning portrait on the first floor of the National Portrait Gallery from June 3 – July 17, 2016.
UPDATE: The winner, whose portrait you can now see on view at the Portrait Gallery, is tennis great Althea Gibson.
Eleanor Holm (1913-2004) and Helene Madison (1914-1970)
Competitive swimmers Eleanor Holm (standing) and Helene Madison (seated) were both powerhouses in their sport. From 1927 through 1936, Holm captured 35 U.S. championships in individual as well as team competitions. Outstanding in the back stroke, she established a world record in the 100-meter event in 1932 and also won an Olympic gold medal that year. Madison dominated women’s freestyle competitions during her brief but spectacular swimming career (1927–32). A threat at any distance, from 100 yards to one mile, she set multiple world records and took 20 national championships. Competing in her only Olympics in 1932, Madison won three gold medals, establishing three Olympic and two world records in the process.