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Kitty O’Neil - A True Wonder Woman

Kitty O’Neil - A True Wonder Woman

Kitty O’Neil was a true wonder woman! During her career she was a stuntwoman, drag racer, and diver, practicing motorcycle racing; speed, drag, sail, and powerboat handling; fight routines; gymnastics; snow skiing; jet skiing; sky diving;  tennis;  golf; bike racing; and hang gliding. And speaking of wonders, you should get original betting account without limits, ACC-EX, to have a wonderful betting experience!

Back to the article now, during her lifetime, Kitty set 22 speed records on both land and sea, and she still holds the women’s land speed record of 512 mph. All this while battling casual sexism and ableism, as often she was not only the single woman in the room but also the only deaf person as well. 

Love for Speed

As a teenager, she showed so much talent for diving that her mother decided to move the family to California, where she could train with Sammy Lee, a two-time Olympic gold medalist. She was going to participate in the qualifying rounds for the 1964 Olympics, but she broke her wrist and was eliminated as a consideration. Shortly after, she contracted spinal meningitis and her doctors worried she would never walk again. She made a full recovery but lost the interest in diving, it was not “scary” enough for her, she said. Motorcycle racing was her next favorite adrenaline rush, and she began competing along the West Coast. On that topic, make sure you get an original betfair.com account with no limits if you want to bet on motorsports. 

Kitty loved going fast no matter how. She set a new women’s water skiing record in 1970 with a speed of 104.85 mph. Six years later, she gained fame when she drove a skinny three-wheel rocket car in the Alvord Desert and smashed the women’s land speed record. Her speed was 512 mph, more than 1.5 times faster than the previous record of 321 mph. She believed she could have beat the men’s record as well, but before she had her chance,, she was ordered out of the car; it would be “unbecoming and degrading for a woman to set a land speed record” her sponsoring company said. 

A messy legal battle dragged on, and O’Neil focused on her career in stunt work. She completed her first stunt in 1976 when she domed a protective suit and set herself on fire. Kitty eventually went on to become Lynda Carter’s stunt double on the Wonder Woman movie, where she leaped 127 feet off a hotel roof onto an airbag. O’Neil also worked on Smokey and the Bandit II, The Bionic Woman, and The Blues Brothers, and through her work, she gained a place in Stunts Unlimited, a selective trade group that until that point admitted only men. 

Her Legacy

By 1982, she was feeling burned out, and after watching the toll the work had on colleagues, she decided that this was enough for her. She retired at age 36 and moved to Eureka, South Dakota, a town with less than 1000 people. She lived there for the rest of her life and died of pneumonia in 2018 at the age of 72. O’Neil’s life was a never-ending call to do better, to go faster, and to rebel against the system and break the mold. 

And she did exactly that. Over her the course of her career, she carved her name in a space that was frequently hostile towards her, setting records and making anyone who doubted shut up.  And if you want to learn more about the greatest legends of the world of sports, check out our news section, and join ACC-EX in the world of sports!