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First Soviet Olympic Champion Dies At 87

Nina Ponomaryova

The first Soviet Olympic champion, Nina Ponomaryova, has died at the age of 87.

Dmitry Shlyakhtin, the chief of Russia's track-and-field federation, said Ponomaryova passed away on August 19.

Ponomaryova, (aka Romashkova) a Soviet discus thrower, won the Soviet Union's first Olympic gold medal as a member of the Soviet team that participated in the Olympic Games for the first time in Helsinki in 1952.

She set the Olympic record at 51.42 meters in Helsinki.

Ponomaryova also won a bronze medal in the discus at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne and a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

Ponomaryova was born in 1929 in the Sverdlovsk region in Urals where her parents were in exile after serving terms as enemies of the Soviet people during the Stalin era.

Based on reporting by TASS, Izvestia, and