Semyon Belits-Geiman

Semyon Viktorovich Belits-Geiman (Russian: Семён Викторович Белиц-Гейман; born 16 February 1945) is a former Soviet freestyle swimmer.[1] He set a world record in the 800 m freestyle, and won two Olympic medals.

Semyon Belits-Geiman
Semyon Belits-Geiman 1966.jpg
Semyon Belits-Geiman in 1966
Personal information
Full nameSemyon Viktorovich Belits-Geiman
Born (1945-02-16) 16 February 1945 (age 75)
Height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight161 lb (73 kg)
ClubDynamo Moscow

Early lifeEdit

Belits-Geiman is Jewish and was born in Moscow,[2][3][4] where he attended the Transport Engineering Institute,[5] studied journalism, and worked as a journalist for the magazines Sports Life in Russia and Soviet Sport.[6]

Swimming careerEdit

Belits-Geiman began swimming when he was eight.[3] He was affiliated with the Moscow club Dynamo, and became a member of the Soviet swimming team in 1962.[3][7] He competed at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, and finished in seventh place in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay and eighth in the 400 meter freestyle.[7]

At the 1965 Summer Universiade, he won the gold medal in the 400 m freestyle and three silver medals in the 1,500 m and relay races.[3] In 1965, his time in the 1,500 m was the second-fastest in the world (17:01.90).[3][8]

In 1966, he won the gold medal against three of the best American freestyle swimmers in a US vs USSR competition in Moscow.[3] That year at the European championships, he won gold medals in the 1,500 m freestyle (16:58.5) and 4 × 200 m freestyle relay (8:00.2) and a silver medal in the 400 m freestyle (4:13.2; behind German Frank Wiegand, and ahead of Frenchman Alain Mosconi).[3][9] In 1966, he was ranked number three in the world in the 1,500-meter freestyle.[3]

On 8 March 1966, he set a world record in the 800 m freestyle, at 8:47.4, in Budapest.[1][10][11][12] That was 4.1 seconds faster than the former record set by Australian Murray Rose in 1962.[5][13]

At the 1967 Universiade in Tokyo, he won a silver medal in the 1,500 m freestyle, behind American Mike Burton.[8]

He won a silver medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City in the 4×100 freestyle relay (3:34.2), swimming the lead leg, and a bronze medal in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay (8:01.6), swimming the second leg.[1][2][3] In the 4 × 200 m relay, one of his teammates was Vladimir Bure.[3] He also swam two individual freestyle events, finishing seventh in the 200 m freestyle, and ninth in the 400 m race.[3] He broke 67 Soviet national freestyle records.[3] In 1974, he was named president of the Moscow Swim Federation and vice president of the Soviet Union Federation.[3]

Post-swimming careerEdit

Later in his life he competed in cross-country skiing and speed skating, and became a Soviet Master of Sport and coach in both disciplines.[1][3]

Beginning in the early 1980s, he developed training programs for figure skaters.[3][14] He created a program to increase coordination and flexibility which was used by Australian ice dancing champions Natalie Buck and Trent Nelson-Bond in the early 2000s.[15]


In 2017 he was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[16]


He met his wife, Russian ice dancing coach and former competitive ice dancer Natalia Dubova, when he covered one of her competitions as a sportswriter.[14][15] In 1999, they moved to Stamford, Connecticut.[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Paul Taylor (2004). Jews and the Olympic Games: the clash between sport and politics: with a complete review of Jewish Olympic medalists. Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 9781903900871. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  2. ^ a b Bob Wechsler (2008). Day by day in Jewish sports history. ISBN 9780881259698. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Belits-Geiman, Semyon". Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Jewish Olympic Medalists". Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  5. ^ a b "A Roundup Of The Sports Information Of The Week". Sports Illustrated. 15 August 1966. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Белиц-Гейман Семен". Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Semyon Belits-Geyman Biography and Olympic Results". Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  8. ^ a b Ralph Hickok (16 January 2010). "World University Games Men's Swimming Medalists". Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  9. ^ Todor Krastev (18 December 2010). "Swimming 11th European Championship 1966 Utrecht (NED)". Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Suited for Swimming". Boys' Life. July 1967. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Aussie Bests Swim Mark". Spokane Daily Chronicle. 16 January 1967. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Burton Sets 2 World Marks". The Telegraph-Herald. 31 August 1967. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Rose's Swim Record Falls to Russian". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 August 1966. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  14. ^ a b Judy Wells (30 April 2000). "Famed skating coach takes to the ice with local talent". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  15. ^ a b "Australian Dancers Flourish Under Dubova". Golden Skate. 1 November 2003. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Harold Davis (20 September 2009). "From Russia with love: Olympic champ and wife still live sporting life in Stamford". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 2 August 2011.

External linksEdit