Speed Skating

Hall of Fame

Born: January 27, 1949 - Leningrad (URS)

Galina Stepanskaya made her international debut three years before her moment of fame in 1976. At the 1973 World Championship Allround in Strömsund (Sweden) Stepanskaya impressed by winning the 1500 meters. In the overall ranking she finally ranked 7th. The next year she was not able to beat this performance and in 1975 her level was even worse. In 1975 she set the 4th best time on a 3000 meters of the Soviet women, but on her favorite distance ,the 1500 meters, she set the 13th best time of the Soviet skaters.

In 1976 her results improved astonishedly. She qualified for the Olympics and at these Winter Olympics in Innsbruck she won the 1500 meters. At the end of the season she had not lost her level and made a succesfull attack on several world records. First, she broke the 3-days-old world record of Nancy Swider on the 3000 meters and a week later she improved her own record with more than 9 seconds to 4:31.00. This record would stay untouched for over 5 years. Stapanskaya skated her 3000 meters record during a mini combination event. On this event, combining the 500, 1000, 1500 and 3000 meters, she also set a world record, improving the old one over 2.5 points to 173.810.

In two years after Stapanskaya golden year, she managed to reach the podium of the World Championships. She finished second behind a fellow-countrywoman in both 1977 and 1978. In 1977 she won the 1500 and 3000 meters at the championship and a year later she won silver on both distances.

Machiel Smit, December 1, 2013

Career summary

Podia at championships

19761 Olympic Winter Games 1500 metersInnsbruckAUT
19772 World Championship AllroundKeystoneUSA
19782 World Championship AllroundHelsinkiFIN

World Records

13000 meters4:40.59Mar 16, 1976MedeoKAZ
23000 meters4:31.00Mar 23, 1976MedeoKAZ
3Mini combination173.810Mar 22/23, 1976MedeoKAZ

Personal Bests

500m0:42.44Apr 3, 1978MedeoURS
1000m1:24.06Mar 22, 1976MedeoURS
1500m2:10.12Mar 22, 1976MedeoURS
3000m4:31.00Mar 23, 1976MedeoKAZ

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