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Olympian Sisson, 78, Dies of Heart Attack

Hilda Strike Sisson, a silver medalist in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, died Thursday in Ottawa, Canada, of a heart attack. She was 78.

Sisson was born in Montreal, and, as a 22-year-old, she finished second in the women’s 100-meter dash at the Coliseum.

It wasn’t until 1980, when gold medalist Stella Walsh of Poland died, that it was discovered Walsh was a hermaphrodite--having both male and female sex organs, and would have been disqualified from competing as a woman.

When the 1984 Olympics were held in Los Angeles, many expected Sisson would be presented with the gold medal as the fastest woman on the track in 1932. In fact, Sisson and Walsh both clocked 11.9-second times in the race, but Walsh was declared the winner. However, no presentation was made, for unannounced reasons.

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