Stella Walsh: The Life and Times of an Intersex Olympian

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Trivial Diversions

Stella Walsh: The Life and Times of an Intersex Olympian

Stella Walsh: The Life and Times of an Intersex Olympian

As a native of Northeast Ohio, I’m avidly attune to all of the odd goings-on that seem to surround this place. People say Ohio is famous for their astronauts and serial killers, and while that may be true there are also a few other pretty remarkable tales that have been brushed over in modern tales.

  • In 2015, the documentary Stella Walsh: A Documentary premiered at the Cleveland International Film Festival and told the story of Polish-born Stanislaw Walasiewicz, an intersex person with ambiguous genitalia. She would later identify as a woman and present herself as Stella Walsh to people around her.
  • She was born in Poland in 1911 but emigrated to the United States when she was three months old.
  • Her family settled in Cleveland, Ohio after her father found work at a steel mill.
  • In 1927, Walsh won a competition to join the American Olympic team but because she was not yet an American citizen she could not join.

Hermann Ratjen alias "Dora Ratjen"

  • In 1932, she represented Poland at the Summer Olympics, where she equaled the world record of 11.9 seconds in the 100 m finals and won. She also came in 6th out of 9 in discus throwing.
  • In 1947, she finally became an American citizen and married boxer Neil Olson. The marriage didn’t last.
  • She was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1975.
  • On December 4, 1980 Stella Walsh was killed in an armed robbery in Cleveland, Ohio. During the autopsy, it was revealed that she had male genitalia but she still portrayed female characteristics. Her sex has never been officially confirmed.
Related topics Cleveland, Ohio, Olympics, Stella Walsh, transsexual, world record
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