Irena Szewińska

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Irena Szewińska
Irena Szewinska 2012.jpg
Irena Szewińska in 2012
Personal information
Born 24 May 1946 (1946-05-24) (age 69)
Leningrad, Russia
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 60 kg (130 lb)
Sport
Sport Athletics
Club Polonia Warszawa

Irena Szewińska (born Irena Kirszenstein on 24 May 1946) is a retired Polish sprinter who was one of the world's foremost athletes for nearly two decades, in multiple events.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Early and personal life[edit]

Irena Kirszenstein is Jewish, and was born in Leningrad to a Jewish family.[7][8][9][10] Her father came from Warsaw and mother from Kiev. They met in Leningrad where they studied at the time, and in 1947 moved to Warsaw.[11]

In 1967 she married her coach, Janusz Szewiński,[12] who also competed in hurdles at the national level and later worked as a sports photographer.[13] They have two sons, Andrzej Szewiński (born 1970), who played volleyball for the national team and later became a senator, and Jaroslaw (born 1981).[13]

In 1970 Szewińska graduated from the University of Warsaw with an MSc degree in economics.[13]

Career[edit]

Irena Szewińska with Konstanty Dombrowicz

Between 1964 and 1980 she participated in five Olympic Games, winning seven medals, three of them gold. She also broke six world records and is the only athlete (male or female) to have held a world record in the 100 m, 200 m and the 400 m events. She also won 10 medals in European Championships. Between 1965 and 1979 she gathered 26 national titles and set 38 records in he 100–400 m sprint and long jump.[12]

In the 1974 season, she became the first woman to break the 50-second barrier for 400 metres, and she set a new world record of 22.21 s for 200 meters. She was ranked number 1 in the world in the 100, 200 and 400 m events in 1974.

She would win her final Olympic medal in Montreal in 1976, by winning the gold in the 400 metres in a world record time of 49.29.[12] At the inaugural World Cup of Track and Field in 1977, she would win both 200 metres and 400 metres; beating both favoured East German runners Barbel Wockel and Marita Koch respectively. She would be ranked number 1 in the world for 200 m and 400 m in 1976 and 1977.

She was ranked number 1 in the world 7 times in the 200 metres; 4 times in the 400 metres, and 2 times in the 100 metres; as well as 3 times in the long jump. Over-all, she was ranked 15 years in the top ten at 200 metres, also 4 times number 2, twice at number 3, which just leaves 2 years outside the top 3; (from 1964 to 1977 she was ranked in the top 3 – 200 metre runners in the world) a remarkable achievement. She was ranked 12 times in the 100 metres, 8 times in the long jump and 6 times in the 400 metres (which she took up in 1974).

In 1998, Szewińska became d a member of the International Olympic Committee.[12] As of 2004, she is the head of the Polish Federation of Athletics.

On 3 August 2005, she was elected as the third woman to the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) Council during the first session of the 45th IAAF Congress in Helsinki.

She is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the IAAF Hall of Fame.[14][15]

Medals and championships timeline[edit]

Year Games Where Event Notes
1964 1964 Summer Olympics Tokyo 4×100 m
200 m
long jump
Gold, 43.6 – WR
Silver
1965 100 m sprint
200 m
11.1 – WR
22.7 – WR

1965

1965 World University Games Budapest 100m
200m
Gold
Gold
1966 European Championships Budapest 200 m sprint
long jump
4×100 m
100 m
Gold
Gold
Gold
Silver
1968 1968 Summer Olympics Mexico City 200 m
100 m
Gold 22.5 WR
Bronze
1971 European Championships (outdoor) Helsinki 200 m Bronze
1971 European Championships (indoor) Helsinki Long jump Silver
1972 1972 Summer Olympics Munich 200 m Bronze
1974 European Championships (outdoor) Rome 100 m
200 m
4×100 m
Gold
Gold
Bronze
1974 European Championships (indoor) Rome 60 m Bronze
1975 European Championships (indoor) 60 m Bronze
1976 1976 Summer Olympics Montreal 400 m Gold 49.29 – WR
1977 1977 World Cup of Athletics Dusseldorf 200 m
400m
4×400 m
Gold
Gold
Silver
1978 European Championships Prague 400 m
4×400 m
Bronze
Bronze
1979 1979 World Cup of Athletics Montreal 400m Bronze

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joseph Siegman (2000). Jewish sports legends: the International Jewish Hall of Fame. Brassey's. pp. 176–177, 252–253. ISBN 1-57488-284-8. 
  2. ^ Robert Wechsler, Bob Wechsler (2007). Day by Day in Jewish Sports History. KTAV Publishing House, Inc. pp. 36, 40, 54, 70, 145, 157, 165, 21, 221, 246, 248, 288–289, 292–293, 295. ISBN 0-88125-969-1. 
  3. ^ Mordecai Schreiber, Alvin I. Schiff, Leon Klenicki (2003). The Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia. Schreiber Pub. p. 301. ISBN 1-887563-77-6. 
  4. ^ Peter S Horvitz (2007). The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heroes: An Illustrated Compendium of Sports History and the 150 Greatest Jewish Sports Stars. SP Books. p. 22. ISBN 1-56171-907-2. 
  5. ^ Paul Taylor (2004). Jews and the Olympic Games: the clash between sport and politics : with a complete review of Jewish Olympic medallists. Sussex Academic Press. p. 268. ISBN 1-903900-87-5. 
  6. ^ Mariah Burton Nelson, Lissa Smith (1998). Nike is a Goddess: The History of Women in Sports. Atlantic Monthly Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-87113-761-5. 
  7. ^ "Irena Kirszenstein-Szewinska". jewishvirtuallibrary.org. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame". google.com. 
  10. ^ "Day by Day in Jewish Sports History". google.com. 
  11. ^ Rozmowa z Ireną Szewińską. bieganie.pl. 18 May 2012
  12. ^ a b c d Irena Szewińska-Kirszenstein. sports-reference.com
  13. ^ a b c SZEWIŃSKA (KIRSZENSTEIN) IRENA. pkol.pl
  14. ^ Joseph M. Siegman (1992). The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. SP Books. pp. 96, 170–171. ISBN 1-56171-028-8. 
  15. ^ Carolyn Starman Hessel (1999). Blessed Is the Daughter. Shengold Books. pp. 123–124. ISBN 1-887563-44-X. 

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Poland Józef Schmidt
Polish Sportspersonality of the Year
1965–1966
Succeeded by
Poland Sobiesław Zasada
Preceded by
Poland Ryszard Szurkowski
Polish Sportspersonality of the Year
1974
Succeeded by
Poland Zygmunt Smalcerz
Preceded by
None
United Press International
Athlete of the Year

1974
Succeeded by
Romania Nadia Comăneci
Preceded by
None
Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year
1974
Succeeded by
Soviet Union Faina Melnyk
Preceded by
Poland Zygmunt Smalcerz
Polish Sportspersonality of the Year
1976
Succeeded by
Poland Janusz Pyciak-Peciak
Sporting positions
Preceded by
East Germany Renate Stecher
Women's 200m Best Year Performance
1974
Succeeded by
East Germany Renate Stecher
Preceded by
East Germany Bärbel Wöckel
Women's 200m Best Year Performance
1977
Succeeded by
East Germany Marita Koch