Google Doodle today: Meet Kitty O’Neil, American stunt performer crowned as ‘fastest woman in world’

Reported By:DNA Web Team| Edited By: DNA Web Team |Source: DNA Web Desk |Updated: Mar 24, 2023, 07:17 AM IST

Google Doodle today: Meet Kitty O’Neil, American stunt performer crowned as ‘fastest woman in world’

The Google Doodle on Friday honoured Kitty O’Neil, an American stunt performer once dubbed “the fastest woman in the world,” for living a life of distinction. Kitty O’Neil turns 77 today. Meeya Tjiang, a deaf guest artist from Washington, DC, created the illustration for today’s Doodle. Kitty was a well-known American daredevil, stunt performer, and rocket-powered car driver who had been deaf since birth.

About Kitty O’Neil
O’Neil was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, on March 24 in 1946 to a Cherokee Native American mother and an Irish father. She had several illnesses when she was just a few months old, which caused a severe fever that ultimately rendered her deaf. Throughout her life, she acquired numerous communication techniques and adjusted for various audiences, ultimately favouring speaking and lip reading the most. 

O’Neil frequently referred to her deafness as a strength and insisted that it wasn’t a hindrance. Later, she developed a passion for diving, but due to a wrist injury and an illness, she was unable to compete. She remained dedicated to realising her goal of being a professional athlete, though.

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Kitty O’Neil journey
O’Neil started experimenting with fast-paced activities like motorcycle racing and water skiing. She loved the action and engaged in risky stunts like jumping from helicopters and dropping from great heights while on fire. She appeared in movies and television shows in the late 1970s as a stunt double, including The Bionic Woman (1976), Wonder Woman (1977–1979), and The Blues Brothers (1980). She was the first woman to join Stunts Unlimited, a group for the best stunt performers in Hollywood.

Kitty O’Neil earned the title of ‘fastest woman’ in 1976
O’Neil crossed the Alvord Desert at 512.76 mph in 1976, earning her the title of “fastest woman alive”! She broke the previous women’s land-speed record by over 200 mph while operating a rocket-powered vehicle known as the Motivator. It was obvious that she could probably surpass the men’s record once she easily smashed the women’s record. But her sponsors never gave her a chance to surpass the achievement of a male driver. She nonetheless went on to break records while driving jet-propelled boats and rocket dragsters, despite this.

Kitty O’Neil’s biopic
The impressive Alvord Desert feat is recounted in the 1979 biopic of  Kitty O’Neil: “Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story.”

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