Sasha Abramsky, "Little Wonder: The Fabulous Story of Lottie Dod, the World’s First Female Sports Superstar" (Akashic Books, 2020)

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Today we are joined by Sasha Abramsky, author of Little Wonder: The Fabulous Story of Lottie Dod, the World’s First Female Sports Superstar (Akashic Books, 2020). Lottie Dod is not a familiar name among casual sports fans but should be. She won the first of her five Wimbledon titles when she was 15 and dominated tennis before walking away. Sticking to one game, she believed, was “appalling.” Dod then took up golf, winning a major women’s golf title. She also won a silver medal in archery at the 1908 Olympics. Dod also dabbled in skating, endurance bicycling, mountain climbing and even toboggan racing. Unlike Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Dod, however, was born before the golden age of sports, so few people have seen photographs or videos from her prime. Garbo-esque in later life, Dod kept to herself after her sports career. But her achievements sprang from the belief that there were no obstacles in her path. Abramsky, a freelance journalist who specializes in politics, is also an obsessive tennis fan. He stumbled upon Dod while visiting Wimbledon’s museum and was enchanted by her ability and career. Abramsky combines descriptive writing with research that pulls back the curtain to reveal an athlete whose feats remain stunning 60 years after her death and more than a century after her glory days.

Bob D’Angelo earned his master’s degree in history from Southern New Hampshire University in May 2018. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida and spent more than three decades as a sportswriter and sports copy editor, including 28 years on the sports copy desk at The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. He can be reached at bdangelo57@gmail.com. For more information, visit Bob D’Angelo’s Books and Blogs.

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