Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tennis player Charlotte Reinagle Cooper (September 22, 1871 - October 10, 1967) was born in Ealing, Middlesex, England where, as a young lady, she was a member of the Ealing Lawn Tennis Club. She won her first of five Wimbledon championships singles titles in 1895, wearing an ankle-length dress in accordance with proper Victorian attire. She won again the following year and for the third time in 1898.
Nicknamed "Chattie," she was a tall, slender, and elegant woman in appearance but a deceptively powerful athlete who became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal. She won the tennis singles at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France where women were allowed to participate for the first time. She followed this up with a second gold medal, winning the mixed doubles with partner, Reginald Doherty .
Still unmarried at age 30 she was what in her day was referred to as a "spinster" but on January 12, 1901 she married a tennis compatriot, Alfred Sterry. That year she captured the Wimbledon championship for the fourth time. After time off for family, she returned to active tennis, winning her fifth Wimbledon singles title in 1908 at the age of 37 years 282 days, an age record that still stands. In 1912, at age 41 she was still one of the best players in the game and that year made it to the Wimbledon finals.
Mrs. Cooper Sterry remained active in competitive tennis and continued to play in championship events well into her 50s. Her husband became President of the Lawn Tennis Association and their daughter, Gwen, played on Britain's Wightman Cup tennis team.
In 1967, Charlotte Cooper Sterry died at the age of 96.
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