What is on today's google home page - Kitty O'Neil's 77th Birthday

Google Doodle Celebrates Kitty O'Neil's 77th Birthday

What is on today's google home page - Kitty O'Neil's 77th Birthday

Today's Doodle, illustrated by deaf guest artist Meeya Tjiang of Washington, DC, honors the 77th birthday of Kitty O'Neil, who was once proclaimed "the fastest woman in the world." Kitty was a famed American stunt performer, daredevil, and driver of rocket-powered vehicles who had been deaf since childhood.

O'Neil was born on this date in 1946 in Corpus Christi, Texas to a Cherokee Native American mother and an Irish father. Since she was just a few months old, she battled several infections, which resulted in a severe fever that rendered her deaf. Throughout her life, she mastered numerous techniques of communication and adapted to various audiences, finally favoring speaking and lip reading the most. O'Neil refused to view her deafness as an obstacle and instead referred to it as a strength. Later, she developed a passion for diving, but a wrist injury and illness prevented her from competing. Yet, she stayed determined to realize her ambition of becoming a professional athlete.

O'Neil started to dabble with high-speed sports such as water skiing and motorbike racing. Being a true action-lover, she also committed perilous deeds such as jumping from helicopters and plummeting from terrifying heights while on fire. In the late 1970s, she became a stunt double for films and television programs such as 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 the best stunt artists in Hollywood.

In 1976, O'Neil was proclaimed "the fastest woman alive" after traveling 512.76 miles per hour over the Alvord Desert! She surpassed the previous women's land-speed record by nearly 200 mph in a rocket-powered automobile called the Motivator. As soon as she shattered the women's record by a landslide, it became clear that she could also likely break the men's record. Sadly, her sponsors did not permit her to break the overall record because they wished to maintain the status quo; they wanted a male driver to accomplish the accomplishment. Legal action against this was unsuccessful, and O'Neil was never given the chance to break the all-time record. Nonetheless, this did not prevent her from breaking records while piloting jet-powered boats and rocket dragsters.

Quiet Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story, a 1979 film about O'Neil's life, recounts the remarkable Alvord Desert achievement.

Kitty, thank you for motivating us all to pursue our aspirations.