|Representing Soviet Union|
|Women's speed skating|
Maria Grigoryevna Isakova (Russian: Мария Григорьевна Исакова; 5 July 1918 – 25 March 2011), nicknamed Cinderella of Vyatka, was a World Champion speed skater. She was born in Vyatka (now Kirov), Russian SFSR, and competed for the Soviet Union.
Isakova started skating at a very young age, spending many hours every day on the ice because she liked skating very much. Seeing how fast she was, people in Vyatka told her to participate in the Soviet Allround Championships, but Isakova was reluctant at first. She finally gave in and when she participated in the 1936 Soviet Allround Championships, pretending to be aged 17 (she was not allowed to compete at her true age of 15), she finished fifth. However, it took until 1944 before she won an allround medal at the Soviet Championships. That 1944 allround medal was silver – gold ones would follow the next five years. She also won the prestigious Kirov prize five times, the first time as early as 1938, the last time in 1951.
Isakova participated in the World Allround Championships three times, winning gold every time. This made her the first female speed skater to become World Champion three times and, since her titles were consecutive, the first female speed skater to become World Champion in three consecutive years. For her achievements, Isakova was awarded the Order of Lenin.
An overview of medals won by Isakova at important championships she participated in, listing the years in which she won each:
|Championships||Gold medal||Silver medal||Bronze medal|
|1,500 m||2:29.5||12 February 1951||Alma Ata - Old Medeo|
To put these personal records in perspective, the WR column lists the official world records on the dates that Isakova skated her personal records.
|500 m||47.7||8 January 1952||Alma-Ata - Old Medeo||46.4|
|1,000 m||1:37.2||16 February 1951||Alma-Ata - Old Medeo||1:38.8|
|1,500 m||2:29.5||12 February 1951||Alma-Ata - Old Medeo||2:36.7|
|3,000 m||5:21.7||23 January 1953||Alma-Ata - Old Medeo||5:21.3|
|5,000 m||9:32.0||1 February 1949||Moscow - TsDKA Stadion||9:28.3|
- Bijlsma, Hedman with Tom Dekkers; Arie van Erk; Gé du Maine; Hans Niezen; Nol Terwindt and Karel Verbeek. Schaatsseizoen '96-'97: 25e Jaargang 1996-1997, statistische terugblik. Assen, the Netherlands: Stichting Schaatsseizoen, 1997. ISSN 0922-9582.
- Eng, Trond. All Time International Championships, Complete Results: 1889 - 2002. Askim, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 2002.
- Teigen, Magne. Komplette Resultater Internasjonale Mesterskap 1889 - 1989: Menn/Kvinner, Senior/Junior, allround/sprint. Veggli, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 1989. (Norwegian)
- Maria Isakova. Deutsche Eisschnelllauf Gemeinschaft e.V. (German Skating Association).
- Legends of the Soviet sports (in Russian)
- Results of Championships of Russia and the USSR from SpeedSkating.ru
- Historical World Records. International Skating Union.
- Lars Finsen and Platon Ippolitov. Sweet 16 - Maria Isakova at the Wayback Machine (archived October 28, 2009) (2003-10-26). Retrieved on 2007-09-08.