Soviet Union's first world champion dies at 92

Fri, 25 Mar 14:17:00 2011

Maria Isakova, who became the Soviet Union's first world champion in any winter sport when she won the all-around title in speed skating in 1948, has died, the Russian skating federation said on Friday. She was 92.

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Isakova won the world all-around title three times in a row from 1948 and is 12th on the International Skating Union's all-time list for women, with 13 world championship medals, including six golds.

The Russian said she was "scared to death" making her first trip abroad to compete in the 1947 world championships in Norway - the first global competition after World War Two.

"We were forbidden to even talk to other athletes by our bosses while foreign athletes probably thought that we were all communists," Isakova later recalled. She retired from competition in 1952.


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