Olympic Medals
Games Participations3
First Olympic GamesLos Angeles 1932
Year of Birth1912


Jadwiga Wajs graduated in 1931 with degree of accounting from the Girls’ State School of Economics in Łódź. In 1938 she worked as a bookkeeper at a chemical plant in Zgierz and married Franciszek Grętkiewicz. During the German occupation, she was imprisoned with her husband after the uprising in the Warszawa Ghetto. After the 1944 Warszawa Uprising they returned permanently to the small town of Pabianic. After her first husband died in 1945 she married Tadeusz Marcinkiewicz, who later died in 1964. After World War II Jadwiga Wajs worked again as a bookkeeper for a textile company in Łódź and also became a coach, professionally since 1950, in local sports clubs. In the 1960s she was employed to care for abandoned and disabled children.

She had an interest in sports since her early age, joining the local sport club when only 8-years-old, and making her international début in 1931. Prior to the Los Angeles Games she took the world record in the discus from 1928 gold medalist Halina Konopacka, becoming the first woman to better 40 metres. Her bronze medal was surely a disappointment, and in a meet in Chicago just after the Games she threw 41.08 m, which would have been enough for the gold medal. Wajs won the discus at the 1934 Women’s World Games, and during the next few years bettered the world record four more times, losing the record in 1935 to the eventual 1936 Olympic champion, German Gisela Mauermayer. Wajs set her last of nine national records while winning the silver medal in Berlin. She also set three national records in the shot put. Her versatility is also shown by the fact that she qualified to represent Poland in 1936 in gymnastics, but did not compete.

After the war, she took up competing again, winning the Polish Championship in the discus and shot in September 1945. After her second marriage she won a bronze medal in the discus and finished fourth in shot put at the 1946 European Championships as Jadwiga Wajs-Marcinkiewicz. At times she also adopted the German name Weiß. Between 1932 and 1948 she won 21 Polish titles in four different disciplines despite the forced break during World War II.

Personal Best: DT – 46.22 (1936).

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