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Ethelda Bleibtrey

Full name: Ethelda Marguerite Bleibtrey (-Schlatke)
Gender: Female
Born: February 27, 1902 in Waterford, New York, United States
Died: May 6, 1978 in West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
Affiliations: Women's Swimming Association
Country: USA United States
Sport: Swimming

Medals: 3 Gold (3 Total)

Biography

Ethelda Bleibtrey was the first American woman to win an Olympic swimming title and also the first woman, from any country, to win three gold medals. In each of her Olympic victories in Antwerp, she set a new world record; had there been a backstroke event on the program she almost certainly would have won a fourth gold medal because she was a world record holder in the backstroke at the time. Bleibtrey had a brief career as an amateur before turning pro in 1922, but between 1920 and 1922 she was undefeated and won an AAU title at every distance from 50y to the long distance event. She was often in the news for incidents related to swimming and in 1919 only public opinion prevented her from being jailed for swimming "nude." She had merely removed her stockings before going for a swim at Manhattan Beach, but in 1919 this was considered "nudity." In 1928 she did spend a night in jail after swimming in the Central Park Reservoir, but Mayor Jimmy Walker quickly intervened and New York got its first large swimming pool, which was the original object of the publicity stunt. Bleibtrey had a successful career as a pro swimmer, then became a well-known coach in New York and Atlantic City, and later was a nurse in Palm Beach.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1920 Summer 18 Antwerpen Swimming Women's 100 metres Freestyle United States USA 1 Gold WR
1920 Summer 18 Antwerpen Swimming Women's 300 metres Freestyle United States USA 1 Gold WR
1920 Summer 18 Antwerpen Swimming Women's 4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay United States USA 1 Gold WR

Women's 100 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1920 Summer 18 Antwerpen Swimming United States Final 1 WR 1:13.6
1920 Summer 18 Antwerpen Swimming United States Semi-Finals Heat Three 1 QU/WR 1:14.4

Women's 300 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1920 Summer 18 Antwerpen Swimming United States Final 1 WR 4:34.0
1920 Summer 18 Antwerpen Swimming United States Semi-Finals Heat One 1 QU/WR 4:41.4

Women's 4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T
1920 Summer 18 Antwerpen Swimming United States USA Final Standings 1 WR 5:11.6