The Italian Almanac

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winning Ondina

Italian News - October 17

Ondina Valla, the first Italian woman to win an Olympic medal, has died at the age of 90. She won the gold medal in the hurdles event at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, beating her long-time rival Claudia Testoni, but was also an accomplished sprinter and jumper.

Ondina, short for Trebisonda, became a symbol for Fascist youth and continued to compete into the early 1940s. Her Olympic medal was stolen a year after the Berlin Olympics but in 1984 she was given an exact replica.