At a glance

19 Jun 1913 Madison, United States of America
Female
Helene Madison was born in Wisconsin but, while still a child, her family moved to Seattle where she had her first success as a competitive swimmer, winning the Northwest High School Championship in 1928. In the early 1930s she dominated women’s freestyling to an extent that is rarely seen at the highest levels. Swimming for the Washington AC, she won every AAU freestyle title in 1930, 1931, and 1932 with the solitary exception of the 1932 100m, in which she did not compete. She set a total of 26 world records, three of which came at the 1932 Olympics, and...

Helene Madison was born in Wisconsin but, while still a child, her family moved to Seattle where she had her first success as a competitive swimmer, winning the Northwest High School Championship in 1928. In the early 1930s she dominated women’s freestyling to an extent that is rarely seen at the highest levels. Swimming for the Washington AC, she won every AAU freestyle title in 1930, 1931, and 1932 with the solitary exception of the 1932 100m, in which she did not compete. She set a total of 26 world records, three of which came at the 1932 Olympics, and although she retired after the Los Angeles Games, many of her records remained on the books for years to come. After giving up amateur swimming, Helene Madison had a brief fling at a Hollywood career, playing a minor role in the film, "The Warrior’s Husband." She had a similar lack of success as a nightclub entertainer and, after the failure of three marriages, she lived alone in Seattle and in her later years particularly regretted that she had not succeeded in her ambition to become a registered nurse.

Helene in numbers

1
Olympics
Olympics
3
medals
Gold medal:3 Silver medal: Bronze medal:
  • Los Angeles
    Los Angeles 1932
    Games
    Results
    Sport
    Event
    Los Angeles
    Los Angeles 1932
    • 1 Gold medal
      Swimming
      100 metres Freestyle
    • 1 Gold medal
      Swimming
      400 metres Freestyle
    • 1 Gold medal
      Swimming
      4 x 100 metres Freestyle Relay

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