Born: Philadelphia, PA-USA
Martha Gable was elected to the USGHOF as a long-time and highly respected judge in women’s gymnastics. As a national and international judge, she also had the reputation of being able to listen to the athlete’s gymnastic problems and immediately set to work finding appropriate solutions. Her support of women in athletics was outstanding and truly appreciated by the women athletes of the day.
Martha Gable began her athletic career as a soccer player, an unusual beginning for one who would gather such acclaim in the world of gymnastic judging and service. At one time, she was instrumental in soliciting help for women in athletics through a National PBS television series of presentations. Murial Grossfeld, 1981 GHOF Inductee, remember her with respect for her contributions to the development of women’s gymnastics programs. Abie Grossfeld, (1979 GHOF Inductee) remembers Martha as a “ . . . nice, unassuming person who did a great deal of judging in and about the Philadelphia area.” He believes she graduated from the American Gymnastics Union College at the Indianapolis Turnverein.” However, Abie is not completely sure of the college name. Abie also reports that Gable may have been a judge at the Olympic Games in 1952; unfortunately, this hasn’t been able to be confirmed. World Championships: Judge-Prague, Czechoslovakia, (1962). Contributor: Martha was a strong advocate of interscholastic athletics for women at a time when many, including many women, felt vigorous athletic activities could be harmful to the physical make-up of women. To further her strong feelings in this area she wrote: “‘How Do We Do It:’ We Need Interscholastic Athletics, Too!” Journal of Health and Physical Education 16, no.4 (April 1945): 208-209, along with other similar articles. Although not much information has been acquired about Gable’s rise through the ranks to become an international judge and supporter of women’s sports in the colleges and universities, it appears clear that her induction into the U.S. Gymnastics Hall of Fame is well warranted primarily on her service as a judge and her contribution to gymnastics’ development.
Sources: Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005, who also provided photo from the Turner Topics archives. Thanks are also extended to Abie and Muriel Grossfeld for their input on the activities and nature of Martha Gable. Introduction, commentary, and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.