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Stella Walsh
(April 3, 1911 - December 4, 1980) Poland - U.S.A.

Stella Walsh



Stella Walsh was born in Wierzchowina, Poland, as Stanislawa Walasiewiczowna, but her parents moved to Cleveland when she was two years old. She changed her name to Stella Walsh when she entered school, and became a high school star in Cleveland.

She set 11 world records and was a dominant sprinter of the 1930s and 1940s, the winner of 41 U.S. Championships in various events. Competing for Poland at the 1932 Olympics she won gold in the 100-meter dash.

At the Berlin Olympics of 1936 she lost at 100 meters to her bitter rival Helen Stephens; a controversy followed when Walsh's supporters hinted that Stephens was too fast to be a woman. (German doctors examined Stephens and announced she was in fact female).

She became a U.S. citizen in 1947, marrying with a US man. Walsh continued to compete as an amateur until 1954 and was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1975.

Accidentally killed by a stray bullet at a Cleveland shopping center in 1981 during robbery attempt, the autopsy surprised everyone by showing that Walsh was neither male nor female, but had male sex organs (non-functioning) and both male and female chromosomes, a condition known as mosaicism.


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