Irina Press

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Irina Press
Medal record
Women's Athletics
Competitor for  Soviet Union
Olympic Games
Gold 1960 Rome 80 metre hurdles
Gold 1964 Tokyo Pentathlon

Irina Natanovna Press[nb 1] (10 March 1939, Kharkiv – 21 February 2004, Russia) was a Soviet athlete.[1][2]


Press won two Olympic gold medals for the USSR team, in the 80 m hurdles (1960) and the pentathlon (1964). She trained at VSS Trud and later at Dynamo.

Together with her older sister Tamara, Irina was half of the "Press Sisters" who between them won five track and field Olympic gold medals and set 26 world records between 1959 and 1966.[3]

Questions regarding gender[edit]

Their careers ended abruptly at the time that gender verification was introduced.[4] Critics have suggested that the Press sisters were actually male, or perhaps hermaphrodites. Another allegation was that they were being injected with male hormones in order to make them stronger. Detractors called them the "Press Brothers".[5] Both sisters had left the sporting scene by the time that gender verification for all international sporting female events was made mandatory in 1966. Some Western newspapers[which?] took that as a confession by the Soviet Union, but Russian newspapers still deny the allegations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Irina Press (Soviet athlete)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "Irina Press". Telegraph. 31 May 2004. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  3. ^ SPorting Heroes: Tamara PRESS - U.S.S.R. - 1960 and 1964 Olympic Shot Put champion
  4. ^ "China Daily". China Daily. 20 December 2006. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Switch hitter: If a man has a sex change can he compete in the Olympics as a woman?"; 22 August 2008


  1. ^ Russian: Ирина Натановна Пресс, Ukrainian: Ірина Натанівна Пресс, Iryna Natanivna Press

External links[edit]