Polina Astakhova

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Polina Astakhova
— Gymnast —
File:Polina Astakhova 1964b.jpg
Polina Astakhova at the 1964 Olympics
Personal information
Full name Polina Grigoryevna Astakhova
Поліна Григорівна Астахова
Полина Григорьевна Астахова
Country represented  Soviet Union
Born (1936-10-30)30 October 1936
Zaporizhia, Ukrainian SSR
Died 6 August 2005(2005-08-06) (aged 68)
Kiev, Ukraine
Height 1.66 m (5 ft 5 in)
Weight 56 kg (123 lb)
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Club Shakhtar Donetsk,
Avangard Kiev,

Polina Astakhova (30 October 1936 – 5 August 2005) was a Ukrainian artistic gymnast. Competing for the Soviet Union she won ten medals at the 1956, 1960 and 1964.[1]


Astakhova became interested in artistic gymnastics at age 13, after she had watched the gymnastics championships in Donetsk, a city, where their family moved a short time before. She trained in the local gymnastics sports club Shakhtyor under Vladimir Alieksandrovitch Smirnov.

Astakhova earned a nickname The Russian Birch in Western countries for her exceptional grace, and at the 1960 Olympics she was even called Madonna by the Italian journalists. Between 1956 and 1966 Astakhova was on top of many international and national competitions especially on the uneven bars apparatus event. She was a member of the USSR team between 1955 and 1968.

In 1954 Astakhova competed in the USSR Championships for the first time and in a year she made the USSR National team at the 1956 Summer Olympics. She was the youngest team member and contributed to the team's gold. At the 1960 Summer Olympics Olympics in Rome she led in the all-around, but lost a whole point for a fall on beam, which was the seventh routine of eight contested. She was very disappointed by the accident and even did not compete that year, although in Rome she won the gold in the team competition and on the bars, silver on the floor and bronze in the all-around. She recovered after the 1961 European Championships, where she won gold medals on the bars and on beam.[2] Competing in the 1964 Summer Olympics, Astakhova contributed to the team's gold, won on the bars, was second on the floor and third in the all-around.[3]

After retiring from competitions, since 1972 Astakhova worked as a national coach in Ukraine. In 2002 she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.[4] Astakhova spent the last years of her life in Kiev before her death at age 68 from pneumonia.

Non-Olympic achievements

Year Event AA Team VT UB BB FX
1956 USSR Championships 3rd 3rd 3rd
1957 USSR Championships 3rd
1958 World Championships 1st 3rd
USSR Championships 3rd 3rd 2nd 3rd
1959 European Championships 1st 1st
USSR Championships 1st 1st 2nd 1st
USSR Cup 1st 1st 3rd 1st
1960 USSR Championships 1st 2nd 1st
USSR Cup 1st
1961 European Championships 2nd 1st 1st 2nd
USSR Championships 2nd 1st 2nd
USSR Cup 2nd 1st
1962 World Championships 1st
USSR Championships 3rd 2nd 3rd
1963 USSR Championships 3rd 1st 2nd
USSR Cup 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st
1964 USSR Championships 2nd 1st
1965 USSR Championships 2nd 3rd
USSR Cup 1st
1966 World Championships 2nd
USSR Championships 3rd
1967 USSR Championships 3rd

See also


  • ^ "Polina Astakhova". Sports-reference.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • ^ "Polina Ghrighorievna Astakhova". Legends of the Soviet sports (in русский). Retrieved 2 May 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • ^ "Polina Ghrighorievna Astakhova". International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Retrieved 12 May 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

This article contains information from the website http://www.gymnast.ru/, incorporated into the Wikipedia with permission from its author E.V.Avsenev.