Ludmila Belousova

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Liudmila Belousova)
Jump to: navigation, search
Ludmila Belousova
Ludmila Belousova 1965.jpg
Ludmila Belousova in 1965
Personal information
Full name Ludmila Yevgenyevna Belousova
Country represented  Soviet Union
Born (1935-11-22) 22 November 1935 (age 78)
Ulyanovsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Height 1.60 m (5 ft 3 in)
Partner Oleg Protopopov
Former partner Kirill Guliayev
Former coach Igor Moskvin, Petr Orlov, Stanislav Zhuk

Ludmila Yevgenyevna Belousova (Russian: Людмила Евгеньевна Белоусова; born 22 November 1935)[1] is a former Russian pair skater who represented the Soviet Union. With her partner and husband Oleg Protopopov she is a two-time Olympic champion (1964, 1968) and four-time World champion (1965–1968). In 1979 the pair defected to Switzerland and became Swiss citizens in 1995. They continued to skate at ice shows and exhibitions through their seventies.

Career[edit]

Belousova and Protopopov in 1966

Belousova started skating relatively late, at age 16.[1] She trained in Moscow where she met Oleg Protopopov in the spring of 1954.[2] Belousova moved to Leningrad in 1955 and began training with Protopopov in 1956 following his navy discharge.[2] They trained at VSS Lokomotiv and competed internationally for the USSR. Belousova and Protopopov were coached initially by Igor Moskvin and then by Petr Orlov, but parted ways with Orlov after a number of disagreements.[2] The pair then trained without a coach at a rink in Voskresensk, Moscow Oblast.[3] In 1961, they decided to work with Stanislav Zhuk to raise their technical difficulty.[3]

Belousova and Protopopov in 1968
Belousova and Protopopov in 2007

Belousova and Protopopov debuted at the World Championships in 1958, finishing 13th. Two years later they competed at their first Olympics, placing 9th. In 1962, they made the World Championship podium for the first time, earning the silver medal. They were the first pair from the Soviet Union or Russia to win a World medal since the discipline's introduction at the 1908 World Championships (which had only three pairs competing). They also won silver at the European Championships, becoming the second Soviet pair to medal after Nina Zhuk and Stanislav Zhuk (who won silver from 1958 to 1960).

Belousova and Protopopov's first major international gold medal came at the 1964 Winter Olympics. It was the first Olympic pairs gold for the Soviet Union. Belousova and Protopopov began the forty-year Soviet/Russian gold medal streak in pair skating, the longest in Olympic sports history, from 1964 to 2006.

Belousova and Protopopov won their first World and European gold medals in 1965, and in so doing, also became the first Soviet/Russian pair to win those titles.

They became Olympic champions for the second time at the 1968 Winter Olympics. At 32 and 35 years old respectively, they were among the oldest champions in figure skating.

The following season, they won the silver medal at the European Championships and bronze at the World Championships as Irina Rodnina began her reign with her first partner, Alexei Ulanov. Those were the pair's final appearances at major international competitions but they would continue to compete within the Soviet Union until 1972.

In total, Belousova and Protopopov won two Olympic titles and medalled eight times at both the World and European Championships, including four consecutive World and European gold medals. After retiring from competition, they skated in shows and continue to do so into their 70s.

Belousova and Protopopov contributed to the development of pair skating, including introducing three death spirals – the backward inside (BIDS), forward inside (FIDS), and forward outside (FODS), which they dubbed the Cosmic spiral, Life spiral, and Love spiral, respectively. Dick Button stated: "The Protopopovs are great skaters not only because they were the finest of Olympic champions, but also because their creative impact was extraordinary."[4]

Personal life[edit]

Belousova and Protopopov married in December 1957.[1] Although she kept her maiden name after their marriage, the pair are commonly referred to as "The Protopopovs".[4] Eager to keep skating the pair decided not to have children.[5]

On 24 September 1979, Belousova and Protopopov defected to Switzerland while on tour and applied for political asylum.[6] They settled in Grindelwald and eventually received Swiss citizenship in 1995.[7][8] Switzerland remains their winter home while their summer home and training center is Lake Placid, New York.[9][4] On 25 February 2003 they have first visited Russia after a 23-year asylum, upon invitation of Vyacheslav Fetisov.[5]

Competitive highlights[edit]

Event 1954–55 1955–56 1956–57 1957–58 1958–59 1959–60 1960–61 1961–62 1962–63 1963–64
Winter Olympic Games 9th 1st
World Championships 13th 8th 2nd 2nd 2nd
European Championships 10th 7th 4th 2nd 2nd 2nd
Soviet Championships 3rd 4th 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st
Event 1964–65 1965–66 1966–67 1967–68 1968–69 1969–70 1970–71 1971–72 1972–73
Winter Olympic Games 1st
World Championships 1st 1st 1st 1st 3rd
European Championships 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd
Soviet Championships 1st 1st 1st 2nd 4th 6th 3rd
Prize of Moscow News 3rd 1st 2nd

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Australia George Moore
BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year
(with Oleg Protopopov)

1968
Succeeded by
Australia Rod Laver