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Nellie Halstead

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameNellie•Halstead
Used nameNellie•Halstead
Born19 September 1910 in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, England (GBR)
Died11 November 1991 in Bury, Greater Manchester, England (GBR)
AffiliationsBury & Radcliffe Athletic Club, Bury (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


A weaver at a local cotton mill, Nellie Halstead was a Northern Counties Champion, had broken the 220 yards world record, and won her first Women’s AAA 220 yards title before she was selected for the 1930 Women’s World Games in Prague where she the 200 metres bronze medal behind two of Europe’s outstanding sprinters of the day, Stanisława Walasiewicz of Poland and Tollien Schuurman of the Netherlands, and all this was before Nellie’s 20th birthday.

Halstead won an unprecedented WAAA treble of 100 yards, 220 yards and 440 yards in 1931 and in the latter event she set a new world record of 58.2 seconds. She retained her 220 and 440 titles the following year and in retaining her quarter-mile title she broke her own world record by a further two seconds with a record that stood 22 years. For the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, Halstead was chosen only for the sprint relay but was a member of the Great Britain team that won the bronze medal. When she returned home, 10,000 fans lined the streets of her home-town, Radcliffe, to welcome their hero home.

In 1933 Halstead won the AAA quarter mile, which by then, was then the 400 metre. She won the 200 in 1934 and in 1935 she captured the 800 metres title in what was her first competitive race over the distance. Victory meant she was only the second woman after Mary Lines to win the 100-220-440-880 (800m) at the WAAA. She took her tally of national titles to 11 when she won the 400 in 1937 and 800 in 1938. In addition she won a gold medal in the 440 yards relay at the 1934 British Empire Games in London, a silver in the 660 yards relay and a bronze in the individual 220 yards She was to add two more national titles to her collection - at cross country. Three weeks after taking up the sport in 1935 she easily won the National Cross Country Championship at Morecambe, maintaining that she only entered the race to keep her Radcliffe Harriers team-mates company. Also in 1935, she won the individual race in the first ever international cross country meeting between England and Scotland, and the following year she retained her National title. Halstead was also a fine footballer in the late 1930 and was a centre-forward with the Bolton Ladies team. She was also an excellent golfer, and for many years before her death, was equally as well known in Radcliffe for the cheese stall she ran in the local market as for her running achievements. Her sister Edith was the AAA javelin champion in 1932, and a silver medalist at the 1934 Empire Games. She was later sexually re-assigned and became known as Edwin, or “Eddie”.

Personal Best: 100 – 12.3e (1933).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1932 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Nellie Halstead
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) Great Britain 3 Bronze

Special Notes


Was Christened Nellie, not Eleanor (as previously listed).