Margarita Anatolyevna Ponomaryova (Russian: Маргарита Хромова-Пономарева; born 19 June 1963), also known as Margarita Khromova, 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.
|Full name||Margarita Anatolyevna Ponomaryova|
|Born||June 19, 1963 (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.
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.
| Women's 400m Hurdles World Record Holder
June 22, 1984 – September 22, 1985
| Women's 400m Hurdles Best Year Performance