Skoblikova, Lydia (1939—)

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Skoblikova, Lydia (1939—)

Soviet speedskater who was the first athlete to win four gold medals in a Winter Olympics. Name variations: Lidija. Born in Zlatoust, Chelyabinsk, Soviet Union, on March 8, 1939.

Won six Olympic gold medals: in the 500 meters (1964), 1,000 meters (1964), 1,500 meters (1960 and 1964), and 3,000 meters (1960 and 1964); won gold medals in the World championship in the 500, 1,000, 1,500, and 3,000-meters (1963); won women's all-around World championship once more (1964).

When Lydia Skoblikova competed in the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics, she won a gold medal in the 3,000 meters and another in the 1,500 meters, in which she set a world record of 2:52.2. Her teammate Klara Guseva took the 1,000 meters, in which Skoblikova placed 4th. In 1963, Skoblikova swept the World championship in the 500, 1,000, 1,500, and 3,000 meters, winning a gold medal in each event. In 1964, she was World champion for a second time.

When the 1964 Winter Olympics arrived in Innsbruck, the 24-year-old Siberian schoolteacher ruled the ice oval. Every day, for four days, she won a gold medal, the first four-gold medal performance in the Winter Games. In three events, she broke Olympic records, skating the 500 meters in 45 seconds flat, the 1,000 meters in 1:33.2, and the 1,500 meters in 2:22.6. Skating conditions prevented her from setting a fourth record in the 3,000 meters; the ice was slushy and there were puddles on the course. Even so, her performance outshone her competitors, and Skoblikova crossed the finish line a full 3.6 seconds ahead of second place Pil-Hwa Han of North Korea and Valentina Stenina , who tied for the silver. Shortly after, Skoblikova was appointed to full membership in the Communist Party by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. At her final Olympic competition in the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games, Skoblikova's reign had ended. She finished 11th in the 1,500 meters. Few athletes have so dominated a single sport, however, as this Russian schoolteacher.


Markel, Robert, Nancy Brooks, and Susan Markel. For the Record. Women in Sports. NY: World Almanac, 1985.

Woolum, Janet. Outstanding Women Athletes. Phoenix, AZ: The Oryx Press, 1992.

Karin Loewen Haag , Athens, Georgia