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Maureen Connolly

Career Ends Tragically

Connolly added the French Open and Wimbledon titles to her resume in 1954-by then she had also won seven straight matches in the Wightman Cup international team competition against Britain. But her career then ended "with heartbreaking suddenness" as the International Tennis Hall of Fame described on its Web site. On July 20, 1954—back home in San Diego after capturing Wimbledon—Connolly was riding her thoroughbred colt, Colonel Merryboy, when a cement truck collided with her and the horse. She was thrown from the animal and suffered a broken bone and severed calf muscles in her right leg. "I knew immediately I'd never play again," she said.

Chronology

1934 Born September 17 in San Diego, California
1949 Travels East to launch tennis career
1951 Graduates from Cathedral High School
1954 Tennis career ends after truck strikes her leg while she was riding horseback
1955 Marries Norman Brinker
1966 Diagnosed with cancer
1968 Co-founds Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation with friend Nancy Jeffett
1969 Dies of cancer at age 34 in Dallas, Texas

She married Norman Brinker of Dallas, a restaurateur and former member of the U.S. equestrian team, and they had two children, Cindy and Brenda. Despite Connolly's inability to play in tournaments, she could still teach children. She worked as a tennis instructor and, with friend Nancy Jeffett, co-founded the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation in 1968. She died six months later, on the eve of the Wimbledon tournament. She had battled stomach cancer since 1966. The Brinker foundation today sponsors a variety of youth activities, including tournaments such as the Maureen Connolly Challenge trophy and "Little Mo" events for boys and girls.

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Famous Sports StarsTennisMaureen Connolly Biography - Parents Couldn't Afford Riding, Fallout With Coach, Career Ends Tragically, Chronology, The Connolly Legacy - SELECTED WRITINGS BY CONNOLLY: