Erwina Ryś-Ferens

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameErwina Lilia•Ryś-Ferens
Used nameErwina•Ryś-Ferens
Born19 January 1955 in Elbląg, Warmińsko-Mazurskie (POL)
Died20 April 2022 in Warszawa (Warsaw), Mazowieckie (POL)
Measurements168 cm / 61 kg
AffiliationsZKS Olimpia Elbląg/Marymont Warszawa
NOC Poland


As a 17-year-old, Erwina Ryś embarked on an international career that would span nearly two decades, débuting at the 1972 World Allround and Sprint Championships. Two years later, she claimed the first official junior world title, and established herself as a solid top-10 competitor in the senior field. She had occasional visits to the podium, placing third at the 1978 World Sprint Championships, which she repeated 1985. In 1988, she also reached the podium of the World Allround Championships with a bronze. She also had successes in individual distances, earning two bronze medals in World Cup standings, and winning a World Cup - her only major international one - in 3,000 m in 1988. With these performances, she holds a claim to being one of the best Polish speed skaters in history, despite not winning any Olympic medals; three fifth places are her best achievement at the Games. In Polish national championships, she has won no less than 76 titles across all events: 11 in 500 m, 11 in 1,000 m, 14 in 1,500 m, 15 in 3,000 m, 6 in 5,000 m, 4 in sprint and 15 in allround.

Having married fellow speed skater Krzysztof Ferens, after her retirement, Ryś-Ferens remained active in the sport as a coach and also worked at Warszawa City Hall. She later became a politician, first being elected on the council of the voivodeship (province) of Masovia in 2001 for the Polish People’s Party (PSL), and being reelected through 2014. In 2006, she was briefly affiliated with Law & Justice (PiS), before rejoining the PSL. Ryś-Ferens also stood for the Polish and European parliaments on several occasions, but was never voted into office. In 2016, she fell ill to breast cancer. Also she recovered from that, she was then struck with bone cancer, which all but ended her mobility, as even using a wheelchair was too painful.

Personal Bests: 500 – 40.86 (1985); 1000 – 1:21.44 (1988); 1500 – 2:04.68 (1988); 3000 – 4:22.59 (1988); 5000 – 7:46.60 (1988).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1976 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) POL Erwina Ryś
500 metres, Women (Olympic) 18
1,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 10
1,500 metres, Women (Olympic) 8
3,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 10
1980 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) POL Erwina Ryś-Ferens
500 metres, Women (Olympic) 11
1,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 16
1,500 metres, Women (Olympic) 17
3,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 5
1984 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) POL Erwina Ryś-Ferens
500 metres, Women (Olympic) 9
1,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 7
1,500 metres, Women (Olympic) 5
3,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 14
1988 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) POL Erwina Ryś-Ferens
500 metres, Women (Olympic) =19
1,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 10
1,500 metres, Women (Olympic) =7
3,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 5
5,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 21

Special Notes