After a long fight with illness, the Soviet Union’s first Olympic swimming champion, has passed away at the age of 67 years old.
Galina Prozumenshchikova’s. She first became Olympic champion in 1964 in Tokyo in the 200m breaststroke and went on to achieve similar success in Mexico in 1968 and in Munich in 1972. Interestingly she actually preferred the 100m breaststroke but this only became an Olympic event in 1968.
Her success came in the breaststroke events and won 5 Olympic medals overall from 1964-1972 and five European championships medals in 1966 and 1970. She was also a 6 time world record holder.
Outside Swimming she enrolled in the Journalism Faculty in Moscow State University in 1966 before giving birth to daughter Irina three years later. In 1980 she returned to the sport, this time as a coach for the CSKA swimming club and further became involved in Masters Swimming in 1991. Like her Olympic career, her Masters career was full of success setting 35 National records in the master’s category.
While Prozumenshchikova was Ukrainian, she is credited as the first ever Olympic swimming gold medalist from either the Soviet Union or Russia.
Further awards were given to Prozumenshchikova later on in her life where she was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Labour twice and the Order of Friendship of Peoples in 1993. These awards go along with her Order of the Red Banner for Labour in 1972.