Lidiya Skoblikova – Ural Lightning
Lidiya Skoblikova is a Soviet speed skater and coach, the only six-time Olympic champion in the history of skating, the absolute champion of the Olympic Games 1964 in Innsbruck.
She also won 25 gold medals at the world championships and 15 gold medals at the USSR National Championships in several distances. Lidiya is an Honored Master of Sports of the USSR (1960), Ph.D. (1982), Professor.
Skoblikova was born on March 8, 1939 in Zlatoust, Ural region, Soviet Union. Lidiya grew up in a large working-class family (father, mother, three sisters, and the eldest brother). She was engaged in skiing, volleyball, athletics, gymnastics.
At the age of 14, Lidiya won the track and field championships in Chelyabinsk region (800 m). A year later, she decided to try herself at speed skating. In 1956 she became the champion of her native city and in the same year Lidiya entered the Chelyabinsk Pedagogical Institute.
She trained at Burevestnik and later at Lokomotiv sports societies.
Skoblikova did her best to become world champion. In 1961, she won the bronze, followed by the silver medal in 1962. In 1963, she finally managed to win the title, setting a new 1000 m world record at the World Championships in Japan.
At the 1964 Olympic Games in Austria Skoblikova became the first Winter Olympian to win four individual gold medals. Two weeks after the Olympics, she won all four distances at the world championships.
After retirement in 1969, Skoblikova moved to Moscow to work as a speed skating coach.
Skoblikova was a member of the Soviet National Olympic Committee, president of the Russian Skating Federation (for 12 years), the head coach of the Russian team (in the 1990s).
In 1996, Lidia was inducted to the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, and three years later received the Order For Merit to the Fatherland.
Skoblikova married Aleksandr Polozkov, a competitive race walker and a member of the national team. Their son Georgy (born 14 March 1965) assisted Skoblkova as a coach of the national speed skating team in the 1990s.
There is the Ice Palace in Chelyabinsk named after Skoblikova.