The distinction of being the first woman ever to become an individual Olympic champion goes to the 29-year-old Charlotte Cooper of Ealing who won the women’s singles at the 1900 Olympic Games. In Paris, Chattie Cooper defeated the French champion, Hélène Prévost in straight sets and then won a second gold medal in the mixed doubles with Reggie Doherty as her partner. Miss Cooper won the Wimbledon singles five times, the last occasion being in 1908 when, at the age of 37, she became the oldest winner of the title (through 2020). She also won the All-England mixed doubles seven times and the women’s doubles twice although this was before these events became part of the official championship program. Other major successes included eight Irish championships, including a triple win in 1895, the Scottish singles in 1898 and the British covered court singles in 1895. She was also a three-time winner of the covered court mixed doubles.
In 1901, Charlotte married Alfred Sterry, who later became President of the Lawn Tennis Association, and their daughter, Gwen, represented Great Britain in the Wightman Cup. Gwen’s husband, Max Simmers, won 28 rugby union caps for Scotland and their son- Charlotte’s grandson, Brian, also played rugby for Scotland. Charlotte Cooper died at the age of 96, thus at the time establishing a longevity record for all British Olympic gold medalists.