My Family – Larry Clark — Hilda Strike — Olympic Medallist

My Family – Larry Clark — Hilda Strike — Olympic Medallist


I saw a reference to a Gary Strike in one of your posts and recalled that Beth’s family were neighbours of Hilda Strike in 1946/47 when they moved into a new “wartime” house in Montreal. At the time, so new that they had no water or hydro for several days-they were the 1st to occupy the house. I don’t know of any relationship with Gary Strike but I thought you might be interested in Hilda’s career. Following is a short history-typed by someone in the family (Beth’s)-the info may have come from Hilda. I googled her and came up with a couple of other versions. Beth remembers her very well but unfortunately we lost contact in the 60s sometime after we last visited them in the Ottawa area. 

Larry Clark

AC-Athletic Club

Hilda H. Strike (later Sisson)-She was a Canadian track athlete and Olympic medalist. She was born in Montreal and died in Ottawa. Competing in the 1932 Summer Olympics, she won a silver medal in the 4×100 metre relay and a silver medal in the 100 metre losing to Stanisawa Walasiewicz. In 1972, she was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. When Walasiewicz was shot to death in 1980 during a store robbery, it was discovered that Walasiewicz was a hermaphrodite. Many subsequently argued that the gold medal should be given to Strike. At the 1934 Empire Games she won the silver medal in the 100 yards event. She also was a member of the Canadian relay team which won the silver medal in the 110-220-110 yards relay competition. She died in 1989.

Photo- Larry Clark
Photo Larry Clark
Larry Clark

Hilda Strike, (born at Montréal, 1 Sep 1910; died at Ottawa, 9 Mar 1989). Hilda Strike was an athlete in the 1932 SUMMER OLYMPICS in TRACK AND FIELD.

In 1964, she was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, and eight years later into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Hilda Strike’s achievements resurfaced in the early 1980s at the death of her major rival Stella Walsh. Since Walsh died following a burglary in Cleveland, Ohio, an autopsy was performed, and the American proved to be a hermaphrodite, with both masculine and feminine characteristics.

A few years later, in 1984, Hilda Strike claimed the medal won by Walsh in the 1932 Olympic Games, but unfortunately, since sex verification tests were not carried until the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, her request went unheeded.

Hilda Strike, the fastest woman in the world in 1932, died on 9 Mar 1989 in Ottawa.

Montreal-born Strike made history at the 1932 Olympic Games when she lost a gold medal to a hermaphrodite.

It looked like Strike had the 100-metre final within her grasp until Poland’s Stella Walsh made a late surge and edged Strike at the finish line. Although the judges clocked both runners at 11.9 seconds, they decided to award Walsh the gold.

Nearly 50 years later, on Dec. 4, 1980, Walsh, who had lived most of her life in the U.S. even though she competed for her native Poland, was shot and killed during an armed robbery at a Cleveland store. She had gone to the store to buy ribbons for a visiting Polish women’s basketball team. She was 69.

An autopsy revealed that Walsh, born Stanis{lstrok}awa Walasiewicz, was a hermaphrodite, having both female and male sexual organs, including a small penis. While gender tests weren’t instituted at the Olympics until 1968, Walsh, who had set more than 18 world records in sprinting and jumping events, probably would have been disqualified from competing as a woman had officials known of her status during the 1930s, says Olympics historian David Wallechinsky. “There really weren’t any rules dealing with that at the time. It was not something they anticipated in 1932.”

Canada’s Hilda Strike (centre) celebrates her silver medal win in the women’s 100m event at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. (CP Photo/COA)

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About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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