Helen Stephens with Jesse Owens

August 4, 1936

On this day Helen Stephens, “The Fulton Flash” dominated the competition and got the gold at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. A farm girl from Callaway County had broken the world record for the 100m dash with a time of 11.5 seconds. That record stood until 1960. According to Helen, Hitler came to see her after her dominating performance in Berlin. He greeted her with the Nazi salture but she said, “All he got from me was a good Missouri handshake.” Apparently afterward he invited her to spend a week at one of his palaces, which she politely declined. Read more about Helen in Tales From Missouri and the Heartland.

This post was contributed by Ross Malone. A historian and a retired school teacher, Ross has authored many books about Missouri’s history, weird facts, and folk tales. He has also written children’s historical fiction. Visit his website, and buy his books in the Missouri Life store.