Galina Prozumenshchikova

26 Nov 1948
19 Jul 2015
Offer Flowers
Light a Candle
Pray for the soul
Seek Blessings

Galina Nikolayevna Prozumenshchikova ( 26 November 1948 – 19 July 2015) was a Soviet breaststroke swimmer who also competed in medley relays.

She won five Olympic medals in 1964, 1968 and 1972 and five European Championships medals in 1966 and 1970.

Her first Olympic medal, the gold in 200 m breaststroke in 1964, was the first Olympic gold in swimming for the Soviet Union.

From 1964 to 1966, she set five world records: four in 200 m and one in 100 m breaststroke events.

Between 1963 and 1972, she won 15 national titles and set 27 national records.

Galina was born in Sevastopol, in the Russian SFSR of the Soviet Union. She married twice and therefore changed her last name first to Stepanova and then to Ivannikova.

Her father, Nikolai Nikolayevich (1913–1991) was a submarine captain. Her mother, Sofia Petrovna (1922–1987) was a nurse and took part in World War II. Galina started swimming in a club in 1959 and until 1966 competed for SKF Sevastopol.

By the time of her first Olympics in 1964, she had won several national and international competitions and set national and world records in the 200 m breaststroke.

(Her favorite discipline was 100 m breaststroke, but it became an Olympic event only in 1968.) However, she underwent surgery for appendicitis in July, just before the Games, and was not in her top form.

She also had a strong rival, Svetlana Babanina, who set a world record in the 100 m breaststroke before the 1964 Olympics.

Nevertheless, Prozumenshchikova won the 200 m event, setting a new Olympic record and winning the first Soviet Olympic gold in swimming. Babanina finished third.

In 1966, Prozumenshchikova enrolled in the faculty of journalism of the Moscow State University (MSU) and moved to Moscow.

That year, she set her final and fastest record for the 200 m breaststroke at 2:40.8—nearly seven full seconds lower than her first record of 2:47.7 in 1964—winning a gold medal in the event at the 1966 European Aquatics Championships, as well as taking silver in medley.

Two years later, at the 1968 Summer Olympics, she came within one-tenth of a second of taking gold in the 100 m breaststroke. She settled for silver in the 100 m event and bronze in the 200 m breaststroke.

In 1969, Prozumenshchikova gave birth to a daughter, Irina, and was on the verge of retiring. However, she returned to competition in 1970, winning gold in the 100 m and 200 m breaststroke and another medley silver at the European Aquatics Championships that year.

She swam for the Soviet Union in the 1972 Summer Olympics, repeating her 1968 performances in both the 100 m and 200 m to add two more Olympic medals to her tally, and retired the following year.

Prozumenshchikova graduated from MSU in 1976 and was writing sports columns for the major newspaper Izvestia. However, she soon left journalism, and between 1976 and 1980 worked as a sports functionary, and after 1980 as a swimming coach for children at CSKA.

Along the way, in the 1970s, she remarried to economist Yuri Ivanovich Ivannikov (born 1950) and had a son, Grigory Yurievich, in 1979. In 1991, she competed in swimming again and set at least 35 national records in the “masters” category.

Prozumenshchikova died aged 66 in Moscow on 19 July 2015 after a long illness, according to the Russian Swimming Federation. Her body was cremated.

No tribute yet, be the first to leave one!

You must be logged in to post a tribute.