Valentina Stenina was born in Belarus, but fled with her mother from Belarus to Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) in 1941 during WWII. In Sverdlovsk she took up skating, and met another skater, Boris Stenin, who she later married. Stenina, a long-distance talent, was fourth in the 5K at her first Soviet Championships, in 1957, and in 1958 won her first medals at the Soviet Championships, being a runner-up in both the 3K and 5K. Internationally Stenina competed first at the 1959 World Championships, placing second behind teammate Tamara Rylova. The next year, 1960, was a very successful one for Valentina and her husband Boris. At the World Championships, Stenina won the all-around and the 1,500. Just one week later, her husband equaled her performance, thereby making them the first husband/wife pair to win World Championships. At the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, they both won a medal (Valentina silver in the 3,000, which she would repeat at the next Winter Olympics, and Boris bronze in the 1,500), so they also became the first husband/wife pair to win Olympic speed skating medals. At the 1961 World Championships, Stenina won the 500, 1,000, and 1,500 and was second in the 3,000, while winning her second World All-Around title. Her third World All-Around title came in 1966, while in 1965 she had won her fifth distance gold at the World Championships, winning the 1,500. Domestically Stenina won four Soviet all-around titles (1961, 1965-67) and was Soviet Champion in the 500 twice (1965, 1966), the 1,000 m once (1961), the 3,000 five times (1960-61, 1965-67) and the 5K m once (1960). After retiring from competition in 1968, the Stenin’s moved to Moscow, where they worked as speed skating coaches.
Personal Bests: 500 – 46.0 (1964); 1000 – 1:33.5 (1964); 1500 – 2:23.5 (1963); 3000 – 5:06.3 (1964).