The strange tale of Stella Walsh's Olympic eligibility / Toby C. Rider, Sarah Teetzel

Rider, Toby C | Teetzel, Sarah Jane

Stanislawa Walasiewicz, or Stella Walsh as she is commonly known, is one of the most famous athletes in women’s track and field history. She has been acclaimed for an extraordinarily long career that yielded a tremendous amount of success at the highest level of amateur athletics. In recent years, however, Walsh has been remembered for the results of the autopsy that followed her tragic murder, which revealed she had male sex organs. Rather than focus upon these dominant strands of the Walsh narrative, this paper explores another important feature of her legendary sporting life. Drawing on contemporary newspapers and documents contained in the archives of the International Olympic Committee and the Avery Brundage Collection, this paper argues that having failed to convince the IOC to change its rules in 1948 and 1952, Walsh married an American for the sole reason of Olympic qualification in 1956.

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