Polina Astakhova

Polina Ghrighorievna Astakhova (Полина Григорьевна Астахова, 30 October 1936 – 5 August 2005) was a Soviet and Ukrainian artistic gymnast. She won ten medals at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Summer Olympics.[1]

Polina Astakhova
Полина Астахова
Polina Astakhova 1964b.jpg
Polina Astakhova at the 1964 Olympics
Personal information
Full namePolina Grigoryevna Astakhova
Поліна Григорівна Астахова
Полина Григорьевна Астахова
Country represented Soviet Union Ukraine
Born(1936-10-30)30 October 1936
Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Died6 August 2005(2005-08-06) (aged 68)
Kyiv, Ukraine
Height1.66 m (5 ft 5 in)
Weight56 kg (123 lb)
DisciplineWomen's artistic gymnastics
ClubShakhtar Donetsk,
Avangard Kyiv,
Medal record


Astakhova became interested in artistic gymnastics at age 13, after she had watched the gymnastics championships in Donetsk, 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 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 Kyiv before her death at age 68 from pneumonia.

Non-Olympic achievementsEdit

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 alsoEdit


  • ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Polina Astakhova". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.

External linksEdit

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