A SPORTING POLYMATH
L ottie Dod remains remembered as the youngest women to become Wimbledon ladies singles champion – a feat she managed five times, the first when she was just 15. An extremely passionate and accomplished sportswoman, she also won a silver medal in the 1908 Olympics in archery. Sporting prowess must have run in the family as her brother Willy won the gold in archery that year too. Dod’s sporting achievements didn’t end there – she also won the British Amateur Golf championships, played for the national hockey team and reached the men’s international qualification standard for figure skating. If she was alive today, she would have been one of the most famous and versatile sportswomen in the world.
At the outbreak of WWI, Dod was determined to be of help, but sciatica meant that she couldn’t work at the front in France as she wanted. She began volunteering for the British Red Cross in England, helping as a cleaner and in the kitchens and was awarded a service medal for devoting more than 1,000 hours of care during the war. She demonstrates that nothing can stop you helping others if you really put your heart and your soul into it.
“She demonstrates that nothing can stop you helping others if you really put your heart and your soul into it.”
“Lottie Dod was without a doubt one of the most accomplished and inspirational sportswomen in history. It would be unheard of today for an athlete to achieve so much across such a range of sports – from archery to tennis via figure skating, golf and hockey. Had she been born in the present day it is highly likely she would be one of the most famous sportswomen in the world. With this in mind, it is fairly ironic that it was a bad back that put a stop to Lottie Dod’s desire to travel to France as a nurse during her time as a British Red Cross volunteer, instead taking up kitchen and pantry duties in an English auxiliary hospital.” Rose Brown, Archivist for the British Red Cross Museum & Archives Team
Lottie Dod's volunteer card