Monday, February 16, 2009

Ladies Firsts - Althletes of the Fairer Sex

With the passing of Valentine's Day most of us men are thinking of women - or at least one particular one. I certainly was. After duly celebrating the amorous holiday, my mind went back to cards.

I had recently purchased a large lot of German Cigarette cards. The cards were from the MONOPOL CIGARETTE series of 1932. The majority were well know soccer internationals. However, among the group were several pioneer female athletes including Ellen Braumuller - the Silver medalist of the Javelin Throw at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Another German athlete in the set was Karoline "Lina" Radke. She specialized in distance running -1,000 meters. However, for the 1928 Olympics - the first to allow females to compete - the distance was restricted to 800m. Not surprisingly, Radke won the Gold medal. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was barraged by exhausted competitors from this run. Subsequently, the event was banned from the games and did not see a return until 1960.
The set also includes other nations such as Norway's skating star Sonja Henie. Another women, who was named "the prettiest girl" of the 1928 Olympics, was Ethel Catherwood of CANADA.
Catherwood's fame was not so much from her accomplishments - a Gold medal in the High Jump - but because of her background. Dubbed "Saskatoon Lily", her private affairs were interest of news reporters. After her Olympic success, she moved to California with many offers to appear in movies.

She declined them all - after having admitted she was actually an American from North Dakota. She had a quick wedding, a Reno divorce and sold all her awards and medals and then married a speedway racer.

There are many more athletes and stories in these pre-war card series coming soon.


Bay Rat North West said...

Cool post. I am enjoying your thoughts.

Ashley said...

these cards are SO cool. I am not sure if you have checked out our blog recently but we have our design for adding a lot more sports to Zistle. Should we have an Olympic category?