Irina Press

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Irina Press
Irina Press 1964b.jpg
Irina Press at the 1964 Olympics
Personal information
Born 10 March 1939
Kharkiv, Ukraine
Died 21 February 2004 (aged 64)
Moscow, Russia
Height 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)
Weight 75 kg (165 lb)
Sport Pentathlon, sprint running, shot put
Club Dynamo St. Petersburg
Dynamo Moscow

Irina Natanovna Press[nb 1] (10 March 1939 – 21 February 2004) was a multitalented Soviet athlete who competed at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics. In 1960 she won a gold medal in the 80 m hurdles and finished fourth in the 4 × 100 m relay. In 1964 she finished fourth in the hurdles and sixth in the shot put, but won gold in the newly introduced pentathlon event.[1][2][3]

Together with her elder sister Tamara, Irina set 26 world records between 1959 and 1966.[4] The careers of both Press sisters ended abruptly at the time that gender verification was introduced.[5] Critics have suggested that the Press sisters were male or hermaphrodites. Another allegation was that they were being injected with male hormones in order to make them stronger. Detractors called them the "Press Brothers".[6]

After retiring from competitions Press earned a degree in physical education and coached at her club Dynamo Moscow. She also took various posts in the Soviet sports administration, such as department head of the Soviet and later Russian State Committee on Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism. From 2000 and until her death in 2004 she headed the Moscow Committee of Physical Culture and Sports.[1]


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