Nina Ponomaryova

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Nina Ponomaryova
Nina Ponomaryova 1960.jpg
Nina Ponomaryova at the 1960 Olympics
Personal information
Born 27 April 1929 (1929-04-27) (age 93)
Sverdlovsk, Russia
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 84 kg (185 lb)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Discus throw
Club Soviet Army
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 56.62 (1955)

Nina Apollonovna Ponomaryova (Russian: Нина Аполлоновна Пономарёва, née Ромашкова, Romashkova on 27 April 1929) is a retired Russian discus thrower and the first Soviet Olympic champion.

Ponomaryova became interested in athletics in 1947, when she entered the Physical Training Faculty of the Stavropol Pedagogical Institute. Her first official performance was in 1948 at the Stavropol Krai Championships, where she set a new regional record at 30.53 m. After just three years of training she became one of the leading Soviet athletes. In 1949 she finished third at the USSR Championships. At that time an experienced coach Dmitry Markov began to train her. In 1951 Romashkova became the Soviet champion, she repeated this success in 1952–1956, 1958 and 1959.

In 1952 she was a member of the Soviet team, which participated in the Olympic Games for the first time in history. At that time the Olympic record was held since 1936 Summer Olympics by Gisela Mauermayer at 47.63 m. Ponomaryova won the qualifying round with a throw of 45.05 m (36 m was enough to qualify). In the final, after the first try Ponomaryova was second with a throw of 45.16 m, the leader being her teammate Nina Dumbadze (45.85 m). In the second try Ponomaryova improved the Olympic record by more than 3 metres (50.84 m). After that she was the leader until the end of the competition. In the third try she set the Olympic record at 51.42 m and earned the first Olympic gold medal for the Soviet Union.

Less than a month after the 1952 Summer Olympics, on 9 August 1952 in Odessa Ponomaryova set a new world record at 53.61 m. In 1954 she won a European title, and in 1956 an Olympic bronze medal. In 1957 she was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. In 1960 Ponomaryova became an Olympic champion for the second time. Soon after that she finished her career and worked as a coach in Kiev and later in Moscow.


Only after I had felt a heavy golden circle in my hand, I realized, what happened. I am the first Soviet Olympic Champion, you know, the first record-holder of the 15th Olympiad...Tears were biting my eyes. How I was happy!... After her win at the 1952 Summer Olympics.

In Russian:Только ощутив в руке тяжелый золотой кружок, я осознала, что произошло. Ведь я первая советская олимпийская чемпионка, первая рекордсменка XV Олимпиады... Слезы щипали глаза. Как я была счастлива!...


Preceded by
Soviet Union Nina Dumbadze
Women's Discus World Record Holder
9 August 1952 – 18 October 1952
Succeeded by
Soviet Union Nina Dumbadze