This Article is From Mar 24, 2023

Google Doodle Remembers Kitty O'Neil, The "Fastest Woman In The World"

Kitty O'Neil never saw her deafness as a roadblock, in fact, she referred to it as an asset.

Google Doodle Remembers Kitty O'Neil, The 'Fastest Woman In The World'

Ms O'Neil died in South Dakota in 2018.

Google Doodle on Friday paid tribute to Kitty O'Neil, an American stunt performer and once the fastest woman in the world. Ms O'Neil was born on this day in 1946 to a Cherokee Native American mother and Irish father in Corpus Christi, Texas. She was an exceptional woman who forged a path in the highly competitive worlds of high-speed sports and dangerous stunts despite her being deaf.

Celebrating her 77th birthday, Google got a deaf artist to illustrate her life. The doodle, illustrated by Meeya Tjiang, showed O'Neil jumping from a helicopter, driving a race car and posing triumphantly in an orange suit against a blue and white background.

Take a look below: 

According to Google, when Ms O'Neil was just a few months old, she contracted multiple diseases which led to an intense fever that ultimately left her deaf. She learned various communication modes and adapted for different audiences throughout her life, ultimately preferring speaking and lip reading mostly. 

Ms O'Neil never saw her deafness as a roadblock, in fact, she referred to it as an asset. She remained committed to fulfilling her dream of becoming a professional athlete despite her struggles, Google said. 

"O'Neil began experimenting with high-speed sports like water skiing and motorcycle racing. A true action-lover, she also performed dangerous acts such as falling from daunting heights while set on fire and jumping from helicopters," the tech giant wrote in a press release. 

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Ms O'Neil achieved her ultimate feat in 1976, when she sped across the Alvord Desert in Oregon state at 512.76 miles per hour in a rocket-powered car. She broke the previous women's record in land-speed and had her eyes set on shattering the men's mark too. However, she was never granted the opportunity to surpass the overall record, for that would have disturbed the status quo. She even fought her case legally but to no avail.

But Ms O'Neil went on to break other records, including piloting rocket dragsters and jet-powered boats. In the late 70s, she even served as a stunt double in several action movies, including 'The Blues Brothers', 'The Bionic Woman' and 'Wonder Woman'. She was also the first woman to join Stunts Unlimited, an association for Hollywood's best stunt performers. 

A biopic about Ms O'Neil's life, titled 'Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story', was released in 1979 and recaps the impressive Alvord Desert feat. Ms O'Neil died in South Dakota in 2018.