Image: Irina Rodnina

Irina Rodnina

Irina Rodnina, born in 1949, Russian figure skater, best known for winning the gold medal in pairs skating at the Olympic Games in 1972, 1976, and 1980. She also won the gold medal in the pairs competition at ten consecutive world championships (1969-1978).

Born in Moscow

Born in Moscow, Rodnina began skating when she was seven years of age. She was paired with her first partner, Alexsei Ulanov, in 1966, and in 1969 the two defeated defending Olympic champions (and fellow Soviet skaters) Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov to win the European championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Later that same year Rodnina and Ulanov won the pairs competition at the world championships, which were held in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Rodnina and Ulanov went on to win the Olympic

Rodnina and Ulanov went on to win the Olympic gold medal in the pairs competition at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. In 1972 they separated, and Rodnina subsequently teamed with Soviet skater Alexander Zaitsev. The two dominated world pairs competition through most of the 1970s and were married in 1975. In 1976 they won the gold medal at the Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. Rodnina and Zaitsev captured their final world championship for pairs in 1978; this was Rodnina`s tenth consecutive world championship. In 1980, one year after Rodnina gave birth to her first child, the pair won their second Olympic gold medal, at the 1980 Games in Lake Placid, New York.

Rodnina earned a B.A. degree in physical

Rodnina earned a B.A. degree in physical education in 1974 and an M.A. degree in sports psychology in 1977, both from the University of Moscow. In 1986 she retired from competitive skating and began coaching skaters and teaching physical education in Russia. In 1989 Rodnina relocated to the United States to become a full-time coach for the Ice Castles International Training Center in California.

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