Nina Otkalenko

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Nina Otkalenko
Personal information
Born23 May 1928[1]
Kursk Oblast, Russia
Died13 May 2015 (aged 86)[2]
Moscow, Russia
Event(s)400–1500 m
ClubCSKA Moscow
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)400 m – 55.0 (1955)
800 m – 2:05.0 (1955)[1]

Nina Grigoryevna Otkalenko (née Pletnyova; Russian: Нина Григорьевна Откаленко; 23 May 1928 – 13 May 2015) was a Soviet middle-distance runner. She won a European title in the 800 m at the inaugural 1954 European Athletics Championships and set multiple world records in this event in 1951–54. She missed the 1952 and 1956 Olympics, where women's middle-distance events were not part of the program, and the 1960 Olympics due to an injury.[2]

In the 1950s Otkalenko became the most successful record breaker in the women's 800 m event. Starting with a world record of 2:12.0 minutes in 1951, she went on to improve her own 800 metres world record four more times. Spearheading a significant improvement in women's times in the event over her career, her last world record of 2:05.0 minutes in 1955 stood for almost five years, before it was beaten by her compatriot Lyudmila Shevtsova.[3] She ranked number one in the world in the 800 m every year from 1951 to 1958, bar 1956 and 1957 when she ranked second to Lyudmila Lysenko and Yelizaveta Yermolayeva. She also set world records in the pre-IAAF era, with a 400 m record of 55.5 in 1954 and a 1500 m record of 4:37.0 minutes in 1952.[1][4]

Outside of her European title, she won medals at the World Festival of Youth and Students, twice winning the 800 m title in 1953 and 1955, as well as taking 400 metres silver medals at both those championships.[5] She was highly successful in domestic competition, ending her career with a total of 22 Soviet titles in track and field and cross country disciplines.[2]

Personal bests[edit]

International competitions[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1953 World Festival of Youth and Students Bucharest, Romania 2nd 400 m 56.7
1st 800 m 2:10.5
1954 European Championships Bern, Switzerland 1st 800 m 2:08.8 CR
1955 World Festival of Youth and Students Warsaw, Poland 2nd 400 m 55.5
1st 800 m 2:09.4


  1. ^ a b c Nina Otkalenko. Track and Field Brinkster. Retrieved on 17 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Former world record-holder and 1954 European 800m champion Otkalenko dies. IAAF (14 May 2015). Retrieved on 2015-05-17.
  3. ^ "IAAF World Championships: IAAF Statistics Handbook. Daegu 2011" (PDF). Monte Carlo: IAAF Media & Public Relations Department. 2011. pp. 595, 597. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
  4. ^ Women, 1500 m World record progression. Track and Field Brinkster. Retrieved on 17 May 2015.
  5. ^ World Student Games (UIE). GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 9 December 2014.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Valentina Pomogayeva
Women's 800 metres world record holder
26 August 1951 – 3 July 1960
Succeeded by
Lyudmila Shevtsova