Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted

Sport: Gymnastics
Inducted: 1991
Country: Soviet Union
Born: October 17, 1921 in Yevpotoria, Russia (Ukraine)
Died: July 22, 2001 in Israel

Maria Gorokhovskaya was a winner of seven medals at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, two gold and five silver. She was the top performer among all athletes, men and women, at the 1952 Games.

She won gold in the Individual and Team All-Around events and silver medals in each of the five other gymnastic events: Vault, Parallel Bars, Balance Beam, Floor Exercise, and Team Hand Apparatus.

In the history of the modern Olympic Games, Gorokhovskaya’s seven medals rank eleventh (tie) in total medals won by one woman athlete. And, her five silver medals rank second (tie) among all Olympic women. Even more remarkable, compared to peers
ranked higher on these lists, Gorokhovskaya is the lone athlete who competed in only one Olympiad.

1952 was the Soviet Union’s debut year in the Olympic Games, and Gorokhovskaya’s first gold medal was her country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal. She was 31 years old at the ’52 Games, an ancient age for world-class gymnasts, and competed until she was 37. The Soviet Union awarded Gorokhovskaya its highest sports honor, the Order of Red Banner, and the Honorary Master of Sport.

From 1948 to 1954, Gorokhovskaya won numerous Soviet and Russian championships. In 1954, she competed in the World Gymnastics Championships and, though a factor in the Soviets road to a Team gold medal, managed only an Individual bronze in Floor Exercises.

Gorokhovskaya volunteered for military service in World War II. She served in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) hospitals during the German army’s three year siege of the city, which cost the lives of nearly one million Russians, and nearly her own. She was decorated with the Order of the Great Patriotic War, as well as other honorable citations.

In the year 2000, Russia issued several sets of stamps representing the greatest Russian achievements in 20th century. The nation’s first Olympic gold medal, won by Gorokhovskaya at the Helsinki Games in 1952, was commemorated with a two ruble stamp depicting a pair of images of the celebrated gymnast.

Gorokhovskaya emigrated to Israel in early 1990, and it was only then that it became known that she was Jewish.

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