Marina Stepanova

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Marina Stepanova
Personal information
Nationality Soviet Union
Born (1950-05-01) May 1, 1950 (age 68)[1]
Meglevo, USSR[2]
Height1.67 m (5 ft 5 12 in)[1]
Weight60 kg (132 lb; 9 st 6 lb)[1]
SportTrack and field
Event(s)400 m hurdles

Marina Stepanova (née Makeyeva born 1 May 1, 1950) is a Russian former athlete who competed for the Soviet Union in the 400 metres hurdles, and became the first woman to run under 53 seconds for the event, when she ran 52.94 secs in 1986.


Born in Meglevo, Imeni Sverdlova, Stepanova started to compete internationally in 1978 at the European Championships in Prague where she finished sixth in her semifinal heat. That year she had a PB of 56.19 seconds in the 400m hurdles.[2] In 1979 she broke the world record for the first time, running 54.78 seconds at the Soviet Spartakiad, defeating previous world record holder Tatyana Zelentsova.[3]:291

Stepanova retired at the end of the 1980 season and gave birth birth to a daughter in 1981.[2] She returned in 1983 and quickly regained her form. Unable to attend the 1984 Olympic Games due to the Soviet-led boycott, she did improve her personal best to 53.67 seconds when winning at the 1984 Friendship Games, defeating the 1983 World champion Yekaterina Fesenko and world record holder Margarita Ponomaryova.[2]

At the 1986 Goodwill Games in July, Stepanova won in 53.81 secs. A month later at the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart, she won the gold medal in the world record time of 53.32 seconds.[3]:291 Three weeks later in Tashkent, Stepanova became the first woman in history to break 53 seconds in the 400 m hurdles, improving her world record to 52.94 seconds at the age of 36.[3]:291 This would remain the world record for seven years until Sally Gunnell ran 52.74 secs in 1993. After the 1987 season she retired at the age of 37.

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1978 European Championships Prague, Czechslovakia 11th (sf) 400 m hurdles 57.49
1979 World Cup Montreal], Canada 2nd 400 m hurdles 56.02
1984 Friendship Games Prague, Czechslovakia 1st 400 m hurdles 53.67
1986 Goodwill Games Moscow, Soviet Union 1st 400 m hurdles 53.81
2nd 4x400 m relay 3:21.99
European Championships Stuttgart, Germany 1st 400 m hurdles 53.32
(sf) Indicates overall position in semifinal round

Personal Bests[edit]

Date Event Time Place
September 17, 1986 400 m hurdles 52.94s Tashkent, USSR[1]
1980 400 m 51.25s[4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Athlete profile for Marina Stepanova". IAAF. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  2. ^ a b c d "Marina Stepanova". Sporting Heroes. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  3. ^ a b c Hymans, Richard; Matrahazi, Imre. "IAAF World Records Progression" (pdf) (2015 ed.). International Association of Athletics Federations. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  4. ^ "Great athletes" (PDF). Stuttgart 1986 pdf. Retrieved 8 February 2018.