Helene Madison
Team USASwimming

Helene Madison

Olympian (1932); Three-time Olympic medalist (3 golds) Los Angeles 1932, gold (100-meter freestyle, 400 freestyle, 4x100 freestyle)

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    Athlete Bio

    Helene Madison


    Seattle, WA


    Lincoln High School (Tacoma, Wash.)

    Born in Wisconsin and moved to Seattle as a child...First woman to swim 100-yard freestyle in one minute flat...Was named Associated Press’ first Female of the Year in 1931...Embarked on an acting career after retiring from competitive swimming...Two Seattle swimming pools are named in her honor...Passed away from throat cancer in 1970 at age 57.

    Helene Madison was a three-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming who held 23 world records throughout her career. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, she burst onto the national swimming scene at age 16, winning each freestyle event at the 1930 U.S. Championships. Madison became the first woman to swim the 100-yard freestyle in one minute flat, and proceeded to sweep the freestyle events at the national championships in 1931 and 1932. At the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1932, she won three gold medals in the 100-meter freestyle, 400 relay and 400 freestyle. After retiring from amateur swimming, Madison appeared in a number of Hollywood pictures before returning to Seattle. There, she opened a swimming school at the Moore Hotel pool, and one of her students, Nancy Ramsey, went on to win a silver medal at the Olympic Games Melbourne 1956. Madison was later inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1966. She passed away in November 1970 at the age of 57.
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