Katharine Connal and her sister Margaret were the daughters of Leeds University Latin Professor Benjamin Michael Connal. Katharine attended Leeds Girls High School, as did fellow 1936 Olympic athlete [Grethe Whitehead]. Both went on to Leeds University and Katharine studied at the Universityâs Medical School and obtained a PhD. At University, Katharine was a prominent member of the swimming club and won the 50 and 100-yard backstroke events at their annual Gala in 1934 when she also represented Leeds University at cricket and took up javelin throwing. She started the Olympic year, 1936, by twice breaking the Inter-Varsity javelin record and just a month before the Berlin Games won the first of her three WAAA javelin titles with a new record 118-1 (35.99), 11 feet better than the old record. She went to Berlin as the first ever British woman to compete in the Olympic javelin but her performance was disappointing and Connalâs best throw was only 27.80m (just over 91-feet). She took up discus throwing in 1937 and would go on to add the British record to her javelin record, at which she would become the first British girl to throw 120 ft. (36.57) She added shot putting to her CV in 1938 and at the Inter-Universities Championship that year she won all three of her disciplines. She also won the WAAA javelin title in 1938 (when she was also third in the discus) and retained her title the following year. By then, she confirmed her all-round ability by also competing in the high jump.
Katharine and sister Margaret both served in the WAAF during the war. Katharine as a squadron officer, and in 1946 was honoured with an OBE in the New Year Honours list. She married John Stukeley after the war and they had a son Michael born in 1951, shortly before the family emigrated to Australia. Katharine was still living in Western Australia in 1980 but nothing more is known about her after that. Connalâs Olympic pedigree went back to 1906, as she was the second cousin of [Johnnie Matthews] who won the gold medal at the Intercalated Games in the tandem cycling event.
Personal Best: JT â 35.99 (1936).
|1936 Summer||24||Berlin||Athletics||Women's Javelin Throw||Great Britain||GBR||14|
|1936 Summer||24||Berlin||Athletics||Great Britain||Final Standings||14||27.80|
|1936 Summer||24||Berlin||Athletics||Great Britain||Final Round||Round One||12||27.80|
|1936 Summer||24||Berlin||Athletics||Great Britain||Final Round||Round Two||14||26.53||27.80|
|1936 Summer||24||Berlin||Athletics||Great Britain||Final Round||Round Three||14||26.98||27.80|