Back in TIME

2 minute read

This issue’s Serena Williams feature (page 50) recalls our coverage of another tennis great. See more at


That Gibson Girl


In 1950, she was the first African American ever to play in the U.S. national tennis championship–what we now know as the U.S. Open–but she lost in the second round. Seven years later, after triumphs at the French championship and Wimbledon, Gibson seemed poised to take her homeland’s top tennis prize.


One of the most remarkable things about this moment in Williams’ career is that she’s doing so well at 33–and Gibson was similarly impressive. “At 30, an age when most athletes have eased over to the far slope of their careers,” TIME noted, “Althea has begun the last, steep climb.”


She won, and she didn’t stop there. Gibson wasn’t one to tout her own role in history, but when she left tennis in the 1960s it was to become the first black woman on golf’s LPGA tour. Her final years, before her death in 2003, were lived out of the spotlight.



Some of the story’s highest praise for Gibson came from tennis champ Tony Trabert: “She hits the ball hard and plays like a man.”


Miley Cyrus has expanded her résumé to include portrait photographer for #InstaPride, a campaign she launched with Instagram to raise awareness about the experiences of people who identify as transgender, gender queer and gender nonconforming. For more, visit

1. At Cyrus’ #InstaPride photo shoot in Hollywood on May 22, A.J. Lehman, a Boston-area high school student, poses with his friend Kenzie Normandin.

2. Brendan Jordan, who’s web-famous for vamping in the background of a local-news interview, models his translucent raincoat.

3. Biracial transgender woman Precious Davis, right, and trans YouTube star Gigi Gorgeous strike a pose for Cyrus.

4. Decorative happy-face balloons set the tone for the shoot. Says Cyrus: “Anyone should be able to express how they feel, without question.”

Trending On

NASA Commander Terry Virts, Russia’s Anton Shkaplerov and Italy’s Samantha Cristoforetti return to Earth after six months aboard the International Space Station, landing near Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on June 11. Cristoforetti now holds the record for the longest time in orbit by a woman, besting NASA astronaut Sunita Williams.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Lily Rothman at