|Full name||Trebisonda Valla|
|Born||20 May 1916|
Bologna, Kingdom of Italy
|Died||16 October 2006 (aged 90)|
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Weight||66 kg (146 lb)|
|Club||SEF Virtus Bologna|
|Achievements and titles|
Trebisonda "Ondina" Valla (20 May 1916 – 16 October 2006) was an Italian female athlete, and the first Italian woman to ever win an Olympic gold medal. She won it in the 80 m hurdles event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, after establishing the new world record during the semi-final.
Born in Bologna, last after four brothers, she was named Trebisonda – a very unusual name for the country – after the Turkish town of Trabzon (Trebisonda in Italian), which her father considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. However, she was nicknamed Ondina, meaning "little wave".
Ondina Valla stood out for her personality and her sports talent even as a young girl. She rivalled with Claudia Testoni at the school championships in their hometown, and they would remain opponents for the rest of their careers. Aged 13, Ondina Valla was already considered one of Italy's top athletes. The following year she became national champion and was capped for the national team.
She was a versatile athlete, capable of excellent results in sprint events, hurdles races and jumps. She soon became a favorite with Italian sports fans. For the fascist government she was the ideal icon of the healthy, strong national youth. Media defined her "the sun in a smile".
Her most important achievement was the gold medal of 80 m hurdles race at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. On 5 August she won the semi-final in 11.6, a new world record. On the following day she ran the final. It was a tight race, with four athletes rushing together at the finish line. There were no doubts about Valla's victory, but a photofinish picture was needed to award the silver and bronze medals. Valla's lifelong rival, Claudia Testoni, finished fourth, without a medal. Valla and Testoni were also members of the Italian 4 × 100 m relay team which finished fourth.
The victory of Valla was important for the Fascist regime and the hostility of many leaders for the participation of women in athletic competitions started to decrease. Mussolini used the victory of the Italian athlete for propaganda, as a demonstration of the strength of the Italian race.
After those Olympic Games, Ondina Valla was forced to limit her competitions because of back problems. However, she still continued to compete until the early 1940s.
|1936||Olympic Games||Berlin||1st||80 metres hurdles||11.7||=|
|4th||4 × 100 m relay||48.7|
- 1 win in 60 metres (1932)
- 2 wins in 100 metres (1933, 1936)
- 6 wins in 80 metres hurdles (1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1937)
- 5 wins in high jump (1930, 1931, 1933, 1937, 1940)
- 1 win in standing high jump (1930)
- 1 win in pentathlon (1935)
- Testoni–Valla rivalry
- Women's 80 metres hurdles world record progression
- Italian record progression women's long jump
- Italy national relay team
- Legends of Italian sport - Walk of Fame
- FIDAL Hall of Fame
- "Trebisonda "Ondina" Valla: la prima donna d'oro" (in Italian). scheggedicalcio.jimdo.com. Archived from the original on 24 June 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- "Ondina Valla - -Biography". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- "IAAF President's Message". iaaf.org. Archived from the original on 11 August 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- Giuseppe D'Angelo & Erminio Fonzo,«Arrivederci a Tokyo». Ondina Valla e lo sport femminile durante il fascismo, in "La Camera Blu. Rivista di studi di genere", 2017, pp. 332-360. https://www.academia.edu/35547503/_Arrivederci_a_Tokyo_._Ondina_Valla_e_lo_sport_femminile_durante_il_fascismo. Retrieved 5 January 2017
- "1936 Olympic champion Trebisonda Valla dies at 90". european-athletics.org. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
Valla, often known by her nickname Ondina or ‘Little Wave', won the 1936 Olympic Games 80m hurdles gold medal having set a world record of 11.6 in her semi-final.[permanent dead link]
- "ITALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS". gbrathletics.com. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Ondina Valla at Olympics at Sports-Reference.com
- Statistics of Ondina Valla career at Trackfield.brinkster.net
- Media related to Ondina Valla at Wikimedia Commons
| 80 metres hs World Record Holder
5 August 1936 - 1 August 1937