Lidiya Skoblikova – Ural Lightning
Lidiya Skoblikova is a Soviet speed skater, the only six-time Olympic champion in the history of speed skating, the absolute champion of the 1964 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, coach. By the way, she was a two-time absolute world champion (1963, 1964). You know, Lidiya was world records holder at distances of 1000 m (1963-1968), 1500 m (1960-1962) and 3000 m (1967).
Awesome woman is Honored Master of Sports of the USSR (1960), Candidate of Historical Sciences (1982), Professor. She performed for the Chelyabinsk Burevestnik, and at the end of her career – for the Moscow Locomotive. Skoblikova became the coach of the sports and entertainment TV show Big Race.
Pretty girl 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). Active girl 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 her hand 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 achieved the first serious success in 1958, becoming a master of sports and a prize winner of the Spartakiad of Peoples of the RSFSR. To tell the truth, she entered the top ten skaters of the country. In 1959, Lidiya took the third place at the World Championships, held in Sverdlovsk, and at the USSR Championship.
Her performance at the World Championships in Sweden (1960) was the sensation. She won gold medals in the 500 and 3000 m race.
In 1960 Skoblikova made her debut at the Olympic Games (Squaw Valley, USA). You know, women’s competitions in speed skating were included in the program of the Olympics for the first time in history. Having won the 1500 m race, she was the first of all participants of the Olympiad to set a world record (2 min 25.2 sec). Then she won 3000 m race. For high sport achievements she was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.
At the World Championships in Japan (1963) Skoblikova became the absolute world champion for the first time. The girl won all four distances (1000 m with a world record of 1 min 31.8 sec).
At the 1964 Olympic Games in Austria Skoblikova became the first Winter Olympian to win four individual gold medals and at the same time she set Olympic records for three of them (500, 1000 and 1500 m). Specialists called her Queen of Skates. In the same year, Skoblikova won all four distances at the World Championships in Sweden. Such an achievement (8 gold medals out of 8) cannot be surpassed, it only can be repeated. In 1964 she was awarded the second Order of the Red Banner of Labor.
After retirement in 1969, Skoblikova moved to Moscow and became a coach.
What is more, 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, Lidiya was inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, and three years later she 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 on March 14, 1965) assisted Skoblkova as a coach of the national speed skating team in the 1990s.
The Ice Sports Palace in Chelyabinsk is named after Lydia Skoblikova.