Althea Gibson: The 'Jackie Robinson' of Tennis (VIDEO)

Just like her fellow athlete friend Jackie Robinson, who broke racial barriers and inspired aspiring athletes of color, Gibson and her brave accomplishments have not been forgotten...
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Just like her fellow athlete friend Jackie Robinson, who broke racial barriers and inspired aspiring athletes of color, Gibson and her brave accomplishments have not been forgotten...
Jackie Robinson: Robinson, who recently was named to Baseball's Hall of Fame, and Althea Gibson, former amateur tennis champion, are shown checking the tally. Miss Gibson was leading the tournament's women's division while Robinson was a top contender among the men.

Two historical giants of the sports world: Jackie Robinson and Althea Gibson. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)

As the U.S. Open starts today, we're reminded of Althea Gibson who is considered by many as one of the greatest players in the sport of tennis.

During a time when being black in America was often treated as a crime, Gibson bravely rose through the ranks of a predominantly white sport and won the Grand Slam title at the French Open in 1956. She then went on to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals the next year and repeated her victory in 1958. In the lifespan of her career on the court, Gibson won 11 Grand Slam titles and was soon after inducted into both the International Tennis Hall of Fame and International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. She also demonstrated serious skills as a professional golfer later in her career.

And just like her fellow athlete friend Jackie Robinson, who broke racial barriers and inspired aspiring athletes of color, Gibson and her brave accomplishments have not been forgotten. 

"I am honored to have followed in such great footsteps," wrote Venus Williams of Gibson. "Her accomplishments set the stage for my success, and through players like myself and Serena and many others to come, her legacy will live on."

Learn more about Althea Gibson's life in her mini bio: