Photo of the Day

Stella Walsh was known throughout the world as the fastest woman alive during the 1930s. Here she attempts to outrun a javelin, no mean feat.

Stella Walsh was known throughout the world as the fastest woman alive during the 1930s. Here she attempts to outrun a javelin, no mean feat.

Olympic Sprinter Stella Walsh Nearly Lost Her Medals Because of Her Autopsy

Athletes can have more than physical hurdles to jump over when competing in the Olympics

Virtually forgotten now, Poland-born, Cleveland-bred Stella Walsh was the female athletic phenomenon of her day, competing in track, basketball, softball and ice skating. Walsh took a gold medal in the 100-meter dash during the 1932 Olympics, a silver four years later, and set 20 world records in track during a time when women were barely allowed out of the house. Walsh ultimately retired to a job tending bar in Cleveland where she was a beloved figure, but, during a holdup on December 4th, 1980, the 69-year-old, still-fit former athlete was killed by a gunman?s bullet. Tragic indeed, but the real shock was yet to come when an autopsy revealed Stella?s decades-old intimate secret.

Stella Walsh walked out of Uncle Bill?s Discount Department Store with a bag full of ribbons. It was the evening of Dec. 4, 1980. The sun was long gone and a chill was filling the air. Two weeks earlier, she had given the key to the city of Cleveland to the Polish men?s national basketball team. In a couple days, she planned to give these ribbons to her native country?s national women?s team before an exhibition game at Kent State University.

Walsh, or Stanislawa Walasiewczowna, her birth name, was Cleveland?s No. 1 Polish-American. Although born in Poland in 1911, she had lived 68 of her 69 years in the United States, the vast majority in Cleveland, in the neighbourhood that was now called Slavic Village.

In her adopted hometown, she was famous, and beloved, on par with other notable Cleveland sports legends like Lou Boudreau or Otto Graham. At the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, she won a gold medal in the 100-meter dash for Poland, and won silver in the same event four years later in Berlin. She also won another seven medals in varying distances during the off year, lesser-known Women?s Olympics, five of them gold.

Her Olympic performance alone, however, does not do justice to her athletic career. At a time when people still debated whether women should compete in sports at all, she was supreme. She reportedly won more than 5,000 races, earned hundreds of trophies, officially set 20 world records in track, was the first woman to run the 100-yard dash in less than 11 seconds and one of the first to run 100 meters in less than 12. Her world record in the 220-yard dash went unbroken for 15 years.

Read more »

Remarkable Maori racism on display

The Race Relations Commissioner has called on organisers of a basketball tournament to allow a teenage girls’ team to play after they were refused entry because their coach wasn’t Maori.

Basketball coach Andrew McKay said it was unfair to his under 17s team who were barred from this week’s National Maori Basketball Tournament after a rule change meant even coaches and management had to be Maori to enter.

Mr McKay coached a Ngati Whakaue team which won the under-15 division at last year’s tournament in Rotorua.

But his application in October to enter the same team in the under-17 grade for this week’s competition, which starts today, was initially declined by the organisers because he was non-Maori.

A clause that all coaching and management personnel must provide whakapapa to an iwi — or state tribal links — was added to the online entry forms after he had applied, he said. Read more »


Court Projection – the next thing in whipping up a crowd

FLOTUS vs Heat

Why do sports stars think they can get away with crimes?

Here we go again.

The NZ Herald reports on yet another sports star before the courts claiming special privileges lest their career be upset by a conviction.

An international basketball player will seek a discharge without conviction on a drink-drive charge today in a bid to save her sporting career.

Tall Fern Jordina Katu said the “stupid” mistake should not prevent her from fulfilling her potential in basketball and insisted she had given up alcohol to prove she had taken the incident seriously.

The 27-year-old will be sentenced this morning at the Auckland District Court, where she will argue that a conviction could limit her international travel.

She blew a reading of 704 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath when she was stopped in May. The adult legal limit is 400mcg.? Read more »

Real Madrid: Getting it done on the court as well

Lesson One: Learning which way your team is going

There is hope for Farrar yet

Isn’t it amazing how the handicapped can compensate with a bit of willpower and training.

Inspiring stuff.

At 5?5?, Brandon Todd had a seemingly impossible goal: to be able to dunk a basketball.? Read more »

Boris Johnson shoots hoops and scores

Is there anything he can’t do?

Read more »

Len Brown basks in reflected glory as he declares Auckland all of NZ


First, well done to the New Zealand Breakers for their 3rd?consecutive?championship title.

Of course, they’re the New Zealand Breakers, ?not the Auckland Breakers.


I suspect Len thinks the New Zealand Warriors are a New Zealand team, until the day they start winning, and then they’ll be the Auckland Warriors again.

What a glory stealing prat.