Maria Leontyavna Itkina

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Maria Itkina
Personal information
Full name Maria Leontyavna Itkina
Nationality Soviet/Russian/Belarussian
Born Roslavl, Smolensk, Russia
Country USSR
Sport Running
Event(s) 60 meters, 100 meters, 220 yards, 400 meters, 440 yards, 800-meter relay
Club Spartak Minsk and the Dynamo Club

Maria (also "Mariya" and "Marina") Leontyavna Itkina (born February 3, 1932) is a former Soviet runner and world record holder.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Itkina is Jewish, and was born in Roslavl, Smolensk, Russia, and later lived in Minsk.[1][2][3]

Running career[edit]

Itkina ran for Spartak Minsk and the Dynamo Club in Minsk, Belarus.[2][4] Itkina held 17 Russian track and field titles.[4]

60 meters[edit]

In 1961, she tied the indoor 60 meter sprint world record of 7.3 seconds.[1]

100 meters[edit]

Her mark of 11.4 seconds in the 100-meter sprint, achieved in 1960, is among the best-ever.[4][5]

220 yards[edit]

In July 1956, Itkina set a 220-yard event world record of 23.6 seconds.[4]

400 meters[edit]

She set a 400-meter world record of 53.9 seconds in 1955.[4] In 1957, she lowered the world record to 53.6 seconds.[1] She tied or broke her mark seven times.[4] She lowered the record to 53.0 seconds on August 29, 1964.[1][4]

440 yards[edit]

She set a world record at 440 yards, at 53.7 seconds, in September 1959, beating the record of Betty Cuthbert of Australia.[4][6]

800-meter relay[edit]

In 1963, Itkina ran the third leg of the Soviet women’s 800-meter relay team that set a world record of 1.34.7.[4][7]

World University Games[edit]

She also won the 200-meter sprint at the 1957 World University Games in Paris, in 24.6 seconds.[8]

European championships[edit]

Itkina was a four-time European Champion. In 1954 at Bern, she won gold medals in the 200-meter (24.3) and 4 x 100-meter relay.[4][9] In 1958 in Stockholm, she won the 400-meter event in a record 53.7 seconds, and won the bronze medal in the 200 meter race (24.3; as Barbara Janiszewska won the gold medal).[1][9] In 1962 in Belgrade she won the 400-meter event (53.4) ahead of Joy Grieveson of Great Britain and Tilly van der Made of the Netherlands.[4][9] In 1965, she won another 400-meter gold medal.[4]


In three Olympics, she came in fourth in four events, including a 4x100 relay at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, and the 100-meter (.06 seconds behind Giuseppina Leone) and 200-meter (.03 seconds behind Dorothy Hyman) sprints and 4x100 relay at the 1960 Rome Olympics, and fifth in the 400-meter relay in 1964 in Tokyo (.2 seconds behind Judy Amoore).[2][4][10][11] She was also eliminated in the semi-finals of the 200-meter sprint at the 1956 Olympics, coming in .01 seconds behind qualifier Norma Croker.[12]


Itkina is a Merited Master of Sports in the Soviet Union, the nation’s highest honor for Soviet athletes.[4]

She was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bob Wechsler (2008). Day by day in Jewish sports history. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Mariya Itkina Biography and Olympic Results". Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Russians Equal Olympic Reocrd; Barteniev and Toukarev do 0:10.3 for 100 Meters". The New York Times. November 15, 1956. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Maria Leontyavna Itkina". Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  5. ^ "100-Meter Dash is Won in 0:11.4; Maria Itkins of U.S.S.R. Has Fastest Time of Year for Woman Athlete". The New York Times. July 3, 1960. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Miss Cuthbert Loses Record". The Age. September 15, 1959. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Soviet Sprinters Claim World Mark". St. Joseph News-Press. August 18, 1963. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ a b c "European Championships (Women)". Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Athletics at the 1960 Roma Summer Games: Women's 100 metres Final". September 2, 1960. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Athletics at the 1960 Roma Summer Games: Women's 200 metres Final". September 5, 1960. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Athletics at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games: Women's 200 metres Semi-Finals". November 29, 1956. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Soviet Union Polina Lazareva
Women's 400 metres World Record Holder
8 June 1957 — 23 October 1962
Succeeded by
North Korea Shin Geum-Dan