Igor Ter-Ovanesyan

Igor Aramovich Ter-Ovanesyan (Russian: Игорь Арамович Тер-Ованесян, born 19 May 1938) is a Ukrainian former competitor and coach in the long jump. Competing for the Soviet Union, he was a five-time European and two-time Olympic medalist in this event. In 1985 he was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honour.[1]

Igor Ter-Ovanesyan
Igor Ter-Ovanesyan 1966.jpg
Igor Ter-Ovanesyan in the 1960s
Personal information
Born19 May 1938 (1938-05-19) (age 82)
Kyiv, Ukraine
Height1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight78 kg (172 lb)
SportLong jump
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)8.35 m (1967)[2]

Early lifeEdit

Ter-Ovanesyan was born in Kyiv to an Armenian discus thrower, Aram Avetisovich Ter-Ovanesyan, and a Ukrainian volleyball player, Valentina Ilinskaya. His parents met at the Kyiv State Institute of Physical Education, where they both taught sports-related topics.


Ter-Ovanesyan took up athletics when he was 15, and within two years was included to the Soviet national team. Ter-Ovanesyan trained at Burevestnik, first in Kiev, later in Lviv, and then in Moscow. He holds a PhD and a title of Professor at the Department of Athletics, Moscow State Academy of Physical Culture. He published several sports-related books in Russian.[3]

Ter-Ovanesyan won Olympic bronze medals at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome – with a jump of 8.04 meters – and at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo – with a jump of 7.99 meters. He also competed at the 1956, 1968 and 1972 Olympics and finished fourth in 1968. At the European Championships he won outdoor gold medals in 1958, 1962 and 1969, and an indoor silver medal in 1971. Ter-Ovanesyan became the first European long jumper to break the 8 meter barrier. He broke the European long jump record eight times and the world long jump record twice. In 1963, he won the United States Indoor Championships. Ter-Ovanesyan had the annual world's best long jumps in 1962, 1966, 1967 and 1969.[4]

After retiring from competitions, Ter-Ovanesyan became a national coach. His pupils included Ineta Radēviča, Valery Podluzhny, Vilma Bardauskienė and Tatyana Kolpakova.[2][5] In 1983–1989 he headed the Soviet track and field team (with a help of state-sponsored steroid program).[6]

In February 2017, Ter-Ovanesyan held a press conference in Moscow, during which he said that East German successes due to state-sponsored doping are legitimate results of "good pharmacology" and should not be condemned.[7]



European ChampionshipsEdit

World recordsEdit

Defection targetEdit

On the eve of the Rome Olympics, athlete Dave Sime of the USA was approached by the Central Intelligence Agency and recruited to help secure Ter-Ovanesyan's defection.[8] Sime approached Ter-Ovanesyan and introduced him to a CIA agent in Rome, but that agent's manner frightened Ter-Ovanesyan off and he did not defect.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Ter-Ovanesyan has been married twice. His first marriage was to Margarita Yurievna Yemelyanova. They had a son, Igor (b. 1963), and a daughter, Karen (b. 1967). His second marriage was to Olga Arturovna Klein. In 1982, they had a daughter, Jana Igorevna Klein.[10]


  1. ^ a b ЛЕГКАЯ АТЛЕТИКА (in Russian). www.sport-express.ru. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b Igor Ter-Ovanesyan Archived 3 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine. sports-reference.com
  3. ^ "'Rome 1960': Politics at play in Olympic Games". Today.msnbc.com. Archived from the original on 11 July 2008. Retrieved 8 July 2008.
  4. ^ "All-Time World Rankings – Men's Long Jump" (PDF). www.trackandfieldnews.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  5. ^ Dolgopolov, Nikolai; Rostislav Orlov (14 January 2007). "Jumpers fly high at Moscow 'Christmas Cup'". IAAF. Retrieved 16 January 2007.
  6. ^ https://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/08/14/sports/olympics/soviet-doping-plan-russia
  7. ^ Ellingworth, James (7 February 2017). "Russia picks fight over doping after IAAF ban extended". Associated Press. Yahoo News. Archived from the original on 8 February 2017.
  8. ^ Maraniss, p. 26
  9. ^ Maraniss, p. 257
  10. ^ "Игорь Арамович Тер-Oванесян" (in Russian). www.pseudology.org. Retrieved 23 January 2013.


  • Maraniss, David (2008). Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World. New York, Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1-4165-3407-5.
Preceded by
Ralph Boston
Ralph Boston
Men's Long Jump World Record Holder
10 June 1962 – 12 September 1964
19 October 1967 – 18 October 1968
Succeeded by
Ralph Boston
Bob Beamon
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ralph Boston
Ralph Boston
Bob Beamon
Men's Long Jump Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Ralph Boston
Bob Beamon
Josef Schwarz