Maria Itkina

  (Redirected from Maria Leontyavna Itkina)

Maria (also "Mariya" and "Marina") Leontievna Itkina (Belarusian: Марыя Лявонцеўна Іткіна; Russian: Мария Леонтьевна Иткина; 3 May 1932 – 1 December 2020) was a Soviet runner who set multiple world records in various sprint events. She competed at the 1956, 1960, and 1964 Olympics and finished four times in fourth place.[2] Domestically Itkina held 17 Soviet sprint titles.[3]

Maria Itkina
Maria Itkina 1964.jpg
Maria Itkina at the 1964 Olympics
Personal information
Born(1932-05-03)3 May 1932[1]
Roslavl, RSFSR, USSR
Died1 December 2020(2020-12-01) (aged 88)
Minsk, Belarus
Height1.66 m (5 ft 5 in)
Weight62 kg (137 lb)
Event(s)60–400 m
ClubSpartak Minsk
Dynamo Minsk
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)100 m – 11.4 (1960)
200 m – 23.4 (1956)
400 m – 52.9 (1965)

Early lifeEdit

Maria Itkina was born in Roslavl in the Smolensk region of the Soviet Union on 3 May 1932.[1][4] She later moved with her family to Minsk in the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic. Itkina competed in athletics for Spartak Minsk and Dynamo Minsk.[4] She graduated from the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture in 1957. Itkina came to specialise in sprint races, competing in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4 × 100 m relay. She won 32 USSR championship titles and set 18 national records. Itkina won a sprint event at the first Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR in 1956.[1]


Itkina won four European titles: one in the 200 m (24.3 s, 1954), one in the 4 × 100 m relay (1954),[3][5] and two in the 400 m (53.7 s in 1958 and 53.4 s in 1962).[3][5] She also won the 200 m sprint at the 1957 World University Games in Paris, in 24.6 seconds.[6]

In her three Olympics, Itkina came in fourth in four events: the 4 × 100 m relay in 1956 and 1960, and the 100 m and 200 m sprint in 1960; she finished fifth in the 400 m in 1964. Her differences with the bronze medalists in the individual events were 0.06, 0.03 and 0.2 seconds, respectively.[2][3][7][8] In 1956 she was eliminated in the 200 m semi-finals coming in 0.01 seconds behind the qualifier Norma Croker.[9] Itkina also won a sprint event at the first (1965) European Cup.[1]


In July 1956, Itkina set a 220-yard world record of 23.6 seconds,[3] yet her favorite events were 400 m and 440 yd, in which she set at least four world records between 1957 and 1962, improving the record from 54.0 to 53.4 seconds.[3][10][11] The only other female athlete to break multiple 400m record was Marita Koch.[11]

In 1960 Itkina ran her personal best of 11.4 seconds in the 100 meter sprint, which remained a world-top level result for many decades.[3][10] In 1961, she tied the indoor 60 meter world record of 7.3 seconds,[12] and in 1963 she was part of the Soviet 800-meter relay team that set a world record of 1.34.7.[3][13][14]


Itkina was recognised as an Honoured Master of Sports of the USSR and an Honoured Trainer of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1957 she was appointed a member of the Order of the Badge of Honour and in 1960 was awarded the Medal "For Labour Valour". In 2000 she was awarded the IOC Prize for Contribution to the Olympic Movement and in 2006 became a third class member of the Russian Order "For Merit to the Fatherland".[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Itkina was Jewish. She was born in Roslavl, Russia, and later lived in Minsk.[2][12][15] In 1991 she was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[3]

In later life Itkina lived in Belarus and died there on 1 December 2020.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Profile of Maria Itkina (in Belarusian)
  2. ^ a b c "Mariya Itkina". Archived from the original on 18 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Maria Leontyavna Itkina".
  4. ^ a b "На 89-м году жизни скончалась легендарная бегунья Мария Иткина" (in Russian).
  5. ^ a b "European Championships (Women)". Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Athletics at the 1960 Roma Summer Games: Women's 100 metres Final". 2 September 1960. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Athletics at the 1960 Roma Summer Games: Women's 200 metres Final". 5 September 1960. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  9. ^ "Athletics at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games: Women's 200 metres Semi-Finals". 29 November 1956. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  10. ^ a b "100-Meter Dash is Won in 0:11.4; Maria Itkins of U.S.S.R. Has Fastest Time of Year for Woman Athlete". The New York Times. 3 July 1960. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  11. ^ a b c "Morta Maria Itkina, l'eterna quarta olimpica e 4 volte primatista del mondo dei 400". Queen Atletica (in Italian). 1 December 2020. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  12. ^ a b Bob Wechsler (2008). Day by day in Jewish sports history. ISBN 9780881259698. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Miss Cuthbert Loses Record". The Age. 15 September 1959. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  14. ^ "Soviet Sprinters Claim World Mark". St. Joseph News-Press. 18 August 1963. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  15. ^ "Russians Equal Olympic Record; Barteniev and Toukarev do 0:10.3 for 100 Meters". The New York Times. 15 November 1956. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
Preceded by
  Polina Lazareva
Women's 400 metres World Record Holder
8 June 1957 – 23 October 1962
Succeeded by
  Shin Geum-Dan