If you’re familiar with Jesse Combs’ life, it’s called “Fastest Woman Alive” because Combs posthumously won the women’s land speed record after a tragic accident in the Oregon desert in 2019. You may be familiar with the term. Kitty O’Neal was setting records in her 1970s, outrunning the men of the time, before Combs was blazing fast. Today, Google honored O’Neill with her doodle, so it’s time for a short history lesson about the first “Fastest Woman Alive.”
Born in Texas in the mid-1940s, O’Neill battled multiple childhood ailments and lost his hearing before becoming a competitive diver in his teens. She achieved great success, but an accident during training while preparing for the 1964 Olympics left her with a broken wrist and spinal meningitis that may have left her unable to walk. .
She participated in swimming events but eventually lost her passion for water sports and moved on to faster activities such as water skiing and skydiving. I faced another medical setback when I underwent
Seeking increasingly dangerous thrill rides, O’Neill turned to racing in the 1970s, competing in the Mint 400 and Baja 500. From there she moved on to stunt work and she became the first woman to work for the major talent agency Stunt She Unlimited. She was involved in ‘The Bionic Woman’ and ‘Smokey and the Bandit II’ and had Mattel create her Kitty O’Neil action figure.
In 1976, O’Neill headed into the southeastern Oregon desert to set a land speed record for a female driver. She said she had used only 60% of the car’s available power, believing her average speed reached over 512 miles per hour and peak speed reached 621 miles per hour, and then at full throttle, she believed she exceeded 700 miles per hour. I was. However, her sponsorship deal prevented her from passing male driver Hal Needham, though she didn’t even get behind the wheel to record her speed.
Later in life, O’Neill delayed his stunt and driving career after seeing a colleague killed in action. She finished her career with 22 land and water speed records. She died of pneumonia in late 2018 at the age of 72, and she was honored in the remembrance portion of the Oscars in 2019.