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Halina Konopacka

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexFemale
Full nameHalina (Leonarda Kazimiera-)•Konopacka (-Matuszewska, -Szczerbińska, -Stowe)
Used nameHalina•Konopacka
Born26 February 1900 in Rawa Mazowiecka, Łódzkie (POL)
Died28 January 1989 in Daytona Beach, Florida (USA)
Measurements180 cm / 65 kg
AffiliationsAZS Warszawa, Warszawa (POL)
NOC Poland

Biography

Halina Konopacka grew up in Warszaw, where she took up horse riding, swimming, and skating. During her time at Warszaw University she also started skiing and joined an athletics club. Because her home was quite far from the Polish centers for winter sports and her particular talent for discus throwing was discovered, she focused on the latter. After only a few months of training she broke the world record with 34.15 m. At the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, women were allowed to compete in athletic events for the first time, and Konopacka claimed the discus gold medal with her third world record of 39.62 m. From her Tartar ancestors she inherited her dark skin color and brown eyes. Together with her model-like physique, this brought her the nickname of Miss Olympia. In her competitions, she always wore a red beret.

Later in 1928 she married Colonel Ignacy Matuszewski, who was treasury secretary in inter-war Poland. In 1931 she retired from competitive sports but continued to ski, play tennis and to take part in car races. She was a well-educated woman, speaking three foreign languages fluently. As early as 1929 she published her first book of poetry called “Some Day…”. After the outbreak of World War II, she supported her husband in bringing the Polish National Bank gold out of the country and ultimately to France to finance the Polish Government in exile. When France surrendered the couple went to the United States, where they elected to stay when Poland became part of the Eastern Bloc. Not until 1989 was she honoured by her home country, when she received the “Silver Cross of Merit”. After the sudden death of her first husband, she remarried twice, surviving both men. She founded a skiing school in the state of New York, designed clothing and ran a boutique. At the age of 60 she completed an art college and became a painter. After her death, her ashes was brought to Poland and buried in her parents’ grave on the Bródno Cemetery in Warszaw.

Personal Best: DT – 39.62 (1928).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1928 Summer Olympics Athletics POL Halina Konopacka
Discus Throw, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes