Nina Ponomaryova

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Nina Ponomaryova
Medal record
Women’s Athletics
Competitor for the  Soviet Union
Olympic Games
Gold 1952 Helsinki Discus throw
Gold 1960 Rome Discus throw
Bronze 1956 Melbourne Discus throw
European Championships
Gold 1954 Bern Discus throw

Nina Apollonovna Ponomaryova (Russian: Нина Аполлоновна Пономарёва, née Ромашкова, Romashkova; born April 27, 1929 in Sverdlovsk, Soviet Union) was a Soviet/Russian discus thrower, the first Soviet Olympic Champion.

She became interested in athletics since 1947, when she entered the Physical Training Faculty of the Stavropol Pedagogical Institute. Her first official performance was in 1948 on the Stavropol Krai Championships, where she threw discus 30.53m, this result was the new record of the Krai. After just three years of training she became one of the leading Soviet athletes. In 1949 Nina was 3rd in the USSR Championships. At that time an experienced coach Dmitry Markov began to train her. In 1951 Romashkova became the USSR Champion, she repeated this success in 1952-1956, 1958, 1959.

In 1952 she was a member of the USSR Olympic 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 from Germany at 47.63m. 20 athletes from 17 countries competed in the Discus Throwing Event. In the Qualifying Round Nina took 1st place with the result 45.05m (36m were enough to qualify). In the Final Round after the first try Nina Romashkova was 2nd with the result 45.16m, the leader being her teammate Nina Dumbadze (45.85m). But already in the second try Romashkova improved the Olympic Record by more than 3 metres throwing the discus 50.84m, after that she was the leader until the end of the competition. In the 3rd try she set the Olympic Record at 51.42m. Romashkova managed to throw discus behind Mauermayer's limit for the 3rd time in her 6th try (49.37m), 4th and 5th tries being 47.24m and 44.66m respectively. Thus, July 20, 1952 Nina Romashkova became the Olympic Champion, setting the New Olympic Record at 51.42m and earning the first Olympic gold medal in the history of the USSR.

Just less than a month after the 1952 Summer Olympics, August 9, 1952 in Odessa Nina Romashkova set the New World Record at 53.61m. In 1954 she became the European Champion. At the 1956 Summer Olympics Ponomaryova won the bronze medal. In 1957 Nina Ponomaryova was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. At the 1960 Summer Olympics Ponomaryova became the Olympic Champion for the second time. Soon after she finished her career and worked as a coach for some time.


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
August 9, 1952 – October 18, 1952
Succeeded by
Soviet Union Nina Dumbadze