She’d never been beloved outside of Cleveland, and had zero friendships along with other athletes otherwise sportswriters
Just like the TAC was a student in deliberations, Walsh is defended because of the, of all some body, Helen Stephens. Rescinding Walsh’s medals “will be a dastardly course of action,” told you Stephens, then 73. “Really don’t envision she try men; which is only my opinion. I do not imagine she got people advantage.” She including told you, “Perhaps Stella Walsh had a birth problem. I did not view it, and it was not the woman blame in any case.”
You will see Stephens’ service as the higher sportsmanship, inspired by the a feeling of equity instead of payback at a good rival who was more than likely complicit into the accusing Stephens to be an excellent man back when you look at the 1936. And it will have been more relaxing for the lady getting generous as, in lieu of Struck or Andersen’s athletes, Stephens never forgotten in order to Walsh.
Just after Walsh come to the newest ceremony in the Western Virginia, followed closely by two females, the previous competition have been assigned rooms in hotels next to both, and you will Stephens (bunking along with her wife) told you she you are going to pay attention to Walsh sex from the resorts structure
However, there have been other variables, which just weren’t clear until 2004, once Stephens passed away along with her memoir try blogged. Possibly Stephens sympathized having Walsh because the she realized how exhausting they would be to live in hiding. As the lady biography revealed, Stephens was a beneficial closeted lesbian whom, during the Berlin Olympics, had an affair that have good Italian language waitress. There is certainly much more: on ages nine, she ended up being raped in a good barn because of the an excellent 16-year-dated cousin, and a few ages afterwards, she try molested of the a female professor which “i’d like to end up being their pussy,” just like the she believed to the girl biographer.
And Stephens’ memoir was not entirely sympathetic to Walsh. She recounted a story from 1975, when both women were inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. (Based on the chronology, Walsh’s bedmate may have been Nancy Jo Dale.) In a letter she sent to a track and field official, Stephens recounted a story told to her by Walsh’s driver: “Stella was having sex with the other girl day & night, and Stella had men gender body organs.” When the driver threatened to go to the police, Stella “knocked her down” and threatened to “‘get her’ when they returned to Cleveland.” Late in life, Walsh was coming unhinged.
“It absolutely was an awful problem,” says a song authoritative who was from the Hall of Fame service, talking on the condition off anonymity. “This lady [Walsh] however try lesbian, and you can a friend out of hers involved see along with her, as well as proceeded locate inebriated and you will obnoxious. They composed slightly a my latest blog post world. She are threatening to check out the newest force with one thing-I am not sure what, I don’t-therefore we gave their currency to go house, and you can grabbed the woman towards Greyhound coach station.”
Though Stephens abstained away from possibilities to tell you this informative article so you’re able to reporters after Walsh’s autopsy, she made sure sports authorities understood. “I never performed imagine ‘all the try kosher’ with Stella,” she published in one single letter. An additional, she said, “ Stella should have started loading ‘something extra’ one to provided her a touch of a keen line inside athletic competition.” Stephens had effectively stayed closeted; whenever she passed away, the brand new Missouri banner flew at half of-mast at the capitol, additionally the governor acclaimed this lady accomplishments. Having said that, Walsh is actually tucked amidst scandal, along with her final time, since the she bled out of a good gunshot injury, are most likely laden with worry that after 69 years, this lady realities might be located.