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Kitty McKane

Full name: Kathleen "Kitty" McKane (-Godfree)
Gender: Female
Born: May 7, 1896 in Bayswater, Greater London, Great Britain
Died: June 19, 1992 in London, Greater London, Great Britain
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Tennis

Related Olympians: Wife of Leslie Godfree.

Medals: 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze (5 Total)

Biography

With a bronze in the singles, a silver in the mixed doubles and a gold in the women’s doubles, Kitty McKane acquired a full set of medals at the 1920 Olympic Games. Her bronze medal in the 1920 singles was won in unique circumstances: as she wished to be at her best to partner Winifred McNair in the doubles she conceded a walkover in the semi-final fog the singles but still qualified to play in the match which she duly won against Sigrid Fick of Sweden to take the bronze medal. She won two more medals at the 1924 Games in Paris but despite a total of five Olympic medals she will be remembered for more notable successes in wider files. Although London-born, Kitty McKane learned her tennis at St. Leonard’s School in Scotland and made her tournament début at Roehampton in April 1919. A few weeks later she reached the quarter-finals on her first appearance at Wimbledon and soon took over the role of Britain’s number one player from Dorothy Lambert Chambers. By 1924 she had established herself as a world class player and confirmed her status by beating the great Helen Wills in the Wightman Cup, repeating the feat at Wimbledon a few days later. In a classic Wimbledon final, McKane lost the first set and trailed 1-4 in the second but came back to hand Helen Wills her only defeat in a singles match in nine appearances at Wimbledon.

In January 1926, Kitty McKane married Leslie Godfree while they were on a tennis tour of South Africa and later that year they achieved the ultimate in familial success by becoming the only husband and wife pairing ever to win the mixed doubles at Wimbledon. In 1926 she also won her second Wimbledon singles title and reached the final of the women’s doubles for the third time, the first time having been in 1922 when she was partnered by her sister, Margaret Stocks. Although she never succeeded in wining the women’s doubles at Wimbledon, McKane had a fine record in other major championship doubles, winning the US title in 1923 and 1927 and the US mixed doubles in 1925.

Kathleen McKane Godfree’s record as a tennis player was matched by her success at badminton. She won eight All-England titles (four singles, two doubles and two mixed), her victories in the doubles coming with her sister, Margaret, as her partner. Her sporting talents were not restricted to racket games, as a nine-year-old she cycled 600 miles from London to Berlin on a family “outing” the following year she was awarded the bronze medal of the National Skating Association in 1914 she was selected to play for England against Scotland in the lacrosse international but the game was called off due to the outbreak of war.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Women's Singles Great Britain GBR 3 Bronze
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Mixed Doubles Great Britain-3 GBR 2 Silver
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Women's Doubles Great Britain GBR 1 Gold
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Women's Singles Great Britain GBR 3 Bronze
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Mixed Doubles Great Britain-1 GBR 4
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Women's Doubles Great Britain-2 GBR 2 Silver

Women's Singles

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result SW
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain GBR Final Round Match 3/4 1 McKane (GBR) 2, Fick (SWE) 0 2
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain GBR Quarter-Finals Match #3 1 McKane (GBR) 2, d'Ayen (FRA) 0 2
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain GBR Round Two Match #4 1 McKane (GBR) 2, Gagliardi (ITA) 1 2
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain GBR Round One Match #4 1 1920-08-16 McKane (GBR) 2, Vaussard (FRA) 0 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain GBR Final Round Match 3/4 1 1924-07-20 McKane (GBR) 2, Golding (FRA) 1 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain GBR Semi-Finals Match #2 2 1924-07-18 Vlasto (FRA) 2, McKane (GBR) 1 1
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain GBR Quarter-Finals Match #4 1 1924-07-17 McKane (GBR) 2, Jessup (USA) 0 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain GBR Round Three Match #8 1 McKane (GBR) 2, Fick (SWE) 0 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain GBR Round Two Match #16 1 McKane (GBR) 2, de Borman (BEL) 0 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain GBR Round One Match #21 AC McKane (GBR) bye

Mixed Doubles

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Partner Phase Unit Rank Date Result SW
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain-3 GBR Max Woosnam Final Round Match 1/2 2 FRA-3 2, GBR-3 0 0
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain-3 GBR Max Woosnam Semi-Finals Match #2 1 GBR-3 2, TCH 0 2
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain-3 GBR Max Woosnam Quarter-Finals Match #3 AC GBR-3 walkover
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain-3 GBR Max Woosnam Round Two Match #4 1 GBR-3 2, FRA-1 0 2
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain-3 GBR Max Woosnam Round One Match #3 1 GBR-3 2, GBR-1 0 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain-1 GBR Brian Gilbert Semi-Finals Match #2 2 1924-07-20 USA-1 2, GBR-1 1 1
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain-1 GBR Brian Gilbert Quarter-Finals Match #4 1 GBR-1 2, IRL-1 0 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain-1 GBR Brian Gilbert Round Two Match #7 1 GBR-1 2, ITA 1 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain-1 GBR Brian Gilbert Round One Match #2 AC GBR-1 bye

Women's Doubles

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Partner Phase Unit Rank Date Result SW
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain-1 GBR Winifred McNair Final Round Match 1/2 1 GBR-1 2, GBR-2 0 2
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain-1 GBR Winifred McNair Semi-Finals Match #1 1 GBR-1 2, FRA 1 2
1920 Summer 23 Antwerpen Tennis Great Britain-1 GBR Winifred McNair Quarter-Finals Match #2 1 GBR-1 2, BEL-2 0 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain-2 GBR Phyllis Covell Final Round Match 1/2 2 1924-07-19 USA-1 2, GBR-2 0 0
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain-2 GBR Phyllis Covell Semi-Finals Match #1 1 1924-07-18 GBR-2 2, FRA-2 0 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain-2 GBR Phyllis Covell Quarter-Finals Match #2 1 1924-07-17 GBR-2 2, SWE 0 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain-2 GBR Phyllis Covell Round Two Match #4 1 GBR-2 2, BEL 0 2
1924 Summer 27 Paris Tennis Great Britain-2 GBR Phyllis Covell Round One Match #1 1 1924-07-14 GBR-2 2, USA-2 0 2