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Margarita Anatolyevna Ponomaryova (Russian: Маргарита Хромова-Пономарева; born 19 June 1963), also known as Margarita Khromova,[1] is a retired hurdler from Russia, best known for setting the world record in the women's 400 metres hurdles in 1984 with 53.58 secs.

Margarita Ponomaryova
Personal information
Full nameMargarita Anatolyevna Ponomaryova
BornJune 19, 1963 (1963-06-19) (age 55)
Balkhash, Kazakh SSR

Ponomaryova was known by her married name of Khromova from 1985–1989, before reverting to her maiden name from 1990 onwards.


Ponomaryova was born in Balkhash, Kazakh SSR in the former Soviet Union. She began her international career by winning two medals at the 1981 European Junior Championships.

In 1984, she made a dramatic improvement in the 400 metres hurdles to break the world record with 53.58 secs on 22 June in Kiev, to become the first woman to run below 54 seconds for the event. She was prevented from competing in that years Los Angeles Olympics due to the Soviet boycott.

1984 proved to be the only year where Ponomaryova would be the worlds number one 400 m hurdler, however her international career would continue for another decade. In 1985, now competing as Margarita Khromova, she finished sixth in the World Cup in Canberra. In 1986, she reached the European Championship final in Stuttgart, placing eighth. The following year she was a semi-finalist at the World Championships in Rome, narrowly missing the final.

Having failed to make the 1988 Seoul Olympics, she won her biggest individual title when winning at the 1989 World Student Games (Universiade). In 1990, (as Margarita Ponomaryova), she finished fifth in the European Championship final in Split. She won the 1991 European Cup ahead of Sally Gunnell, before finishing eighth later that year in the World Championship final in Tokyo.

Ponomaryova represented the Unified team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. In the semi-finals she ran 53.98 sec, to qualify for the final as the third fastest. However, in the final she only managed 54.83 to finish sixth. At the following years World Championships in Stuttgart, she reached her peak running 53.48 sec to win the bronze medal. This was her first (and only) individual medal at Olympic or World Championship level. The race was won by Sally Gunnell in a then world record of 52.74. Ponomaryova also won a silver medal in the 4x400 metres relay.

International competitionsEdit

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing   Soviet Union
1981 European Junior Championships Utrecht, Netherlands 3rd 400m h 57.45
2nd 4x400m 3:31.41
1984 Friendship Games Prague, Czechoslovakia 3rd 400m h 54.65
1985 World Cup Canberra, Australia 6th 400m h 56.90
1986 Goodwill Games Moscow, Soviet Union 4th 400m h 55.08
European Championships Stuttgart, Germany 8th 400m h 55.56
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy semi-final 400m h 54.86
1989 World Student Games (Universiade) Duisburg, Germany 1st 400m h 57.03
3rd 4x400m 3:28.60
1990 European Championships Split, Yugoslavia 5th 400m h 55.22
1991 World Indoor Championships Seville, Spain 2nd 4x400m 3:27.95
European Cup Frankfurt, Germany 1st 400m h 54.42
World Championships Tokyo, Japan 8th 400m h 55.27
Grand Prix Final Barcelona, Spain 5th 400 m h
Representing   Unified Team
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain 6th 400m h 54.83
World Cup Havana, Cuba 3rd 400m h 56.46
Representing   Russia
1993 World Championships Stuttgart, Germany 3rd 400m h 53.48
2nd 4x400m 3:18.38
Grand Prix Final London, United Kingdom 4th 400 m h


  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Margarita Ponomaryova". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
Preceded by
  Anna Ambrazienė
Women's 400m Hurdles World Record Holder
June 22, 1984 – September 22, 1985
Succeeded by
  Sabine Busch
Sporting positions
Preceded by
  Anna Ambrazienė
Women's 400m Hurdles Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
  Sabine Busch