Google Doodle Celebrates Kitty O’Neil, Deaf Daredevil Who Became ‘World’s Fastest Woman’: Who Was She?
Google Doodle Today: March 24th Doodle is illustrated by Washington DC-based, deaf guest artist Meeya Tjiang. (Screengrab: Google.com)
Google Doodle Today: Kitty O’Neil was a legendary American stunt performer, daredevil, and rocket-powered vehicle driver who was deaf since childhood
GOOGLE DOODLE TODAY, 24 MARCH, 2023: Google Doodle on Friday celebrates the 77th birth anniversary of Kitty O’Neil, a legendary American stunt performer, daredevil, and rocket-powered vehicle driver who was deaf since childhood. It is illustrated by Washington DC-based, deaf guest artist Meeya Tjiang.
Once crowned the “the fastest woman in the world,” O’Neil was born on this day in 1946 to a Cherokee Native American mother and Irish father in Corpus Christi, Texas, Google said. On the reason of O’Neil being deaf, the tech giant said, “When she was just a few months old, she contracted multiple diseases which led to an intense fever that ultimately left her deaf.”
KITTY O’NEIL REFUSED TO SEE HER DEAFNESS AS A ROADBLOCK
O’Neil learned various communication modes and adapted for different audiences throughout her life, ultimately preferring speaking and lip reading mostly. She refused to see her deafness as a roadblock, often referring to it as an asset.
She later found a love for diving, but a wrist injury and illness ended her chances of competing. However, she remained committed to fulfill her dream of becoming a professional athlete.
KITTY O’NEIL’S LOVE FOR HIGH-SPEED SPORTS
- O’Neil began experimenting with high-speed sports like water skiing and motorcycle racing.
- A true action-lover, she also performed dangerous acts such as falling from daunting heights while set on fire and jumping from helicopters.
- In the late 70s, she made it onto the big screen as a stunt double for films and TV series including The Bionic Woman (1976), Wonder Woman (1977-1979), and The Blues Brothers (1980).
- She was the first woman to join Stunts Unlimited, an organization for Hollywood’s top stunt performers.
KITTY O’NEIL: RECORDS, ACHIEVEMENTS AND BIOPIC
- In 1976, O’Neil was crowned “the fastest woman alive” after zooming across the Alvord Desert at 512.76 miles per hour!
- She drove a rocket-powered car called the Motivator and surpassed the previous women’s land-speed record by almost 200 mph.
- Once she broke the women’s record by a landslide, it became evident that she could likely beat the men’s mark too.
- Unfortunately, her sponsors did not allow her to break the overall record as it threatened the status quo — they wanted to reserve the feat for a male driver.
- Legal action to fight this failed and O’Neil was never given the opportunity to break the overall record. However, this didn’t hold her back from going on to break records piloting jet-powered boats and rocket dragsters.
- A biopic about O’Neil’s life, titled Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story, was released in 1979 and recaps the impressive Alvord Desert feat.
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