Shelley Mann

Shelley Isabel Mann (October 15, 1937 – March 24, 2005) was an American competition swimmer and Olympic medalist at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia where she won the gold medal in the women's 100-meter butterfly event, and was a member of the U.S. team that won the silver medal for the women's 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

Shelley Mann
Shelley Mann.jpeg
Personal information
Full nameShelley Isabel Mann
National team United States
BornOctober 15, 1937
New York, New York
DiedMarch 24, 2005(2005-03-24) (aged 67)
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight134 lb (61 kg)
StrokesButterfly, freestyle
ClubWalter Reed Swim Club
Medal record

Mann was born in Long Island, New York in 1937 to Hamilton and Isabel Mann. Her father was in the U.S. Navy during World War II.[1]

Mann caught polio at age six while living in Cambridge, Massachuetts. She spent weeks in the hospital and was left with a paralyzed right leg.[1] She took up swimming to aid her recovery.[2] She learned to walk but with a significant limp.[1] She was a student at American University in Washington, D.C.


In the pool, her limp didn't matter and Mann began practicing and taking lessons from some of the top professional coaches.[1]

She was a member of the Walter Reed Swim Club,[3] and began competing. The swim team had to train at 6:00am because the Walter Reed medical hospital was needed for the patients.[1] By the time she was 14 she had won the first of what would eventually be 24 AAU national championships in the freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly, and individual medley events.[1]

She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an "honor swimmer" in 1966,[4] and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f Nancy, Sorrells (August 19, 2016). "1956 Olympic gold medalist buried in Thornrose". News Leader, part of the USA Today Network.
  2. ^ "At the age of five she had polio. … Her parents took her daily to a swimming pool where they hoped the water would help hold her arms up as she tried to use them again. When she could lift her arm out of the water with her own power, she cried for joy. Then her goal was to swim the width of the pool, then the length, then several lengths. She kept on trying, swimming, enduring, day after day after day, until she won the gold medal for the butterfly stroke—one of the most difficult of all swimming strokes." (Marvin J. Ashton, April 1975 General Conference Report)
  3. ^ Sports Illustrated Vault: STAN TINKHAM'S TEEN-AGERS
  4. ^ International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honorees, Shelley Mann (USA). Retrieved April 11, 2015.

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