Lyudmila Bragina took up athletics in 1960. Initially a high jumper, she switched to running in 1964 and was the best female middle-distance runner of the world in the early 1970s. At the 1972 Olympics, she won the 1,500 gold medal, while setting three world records. Before the Olympics, Bragina had set a 1,500 world record by clocking 4:06.9 at the Soviet Championships. She also competed at the 1976 Olympics, placing fifth. At the European Championships, Bragina was less successful, winning only a 3,000 metre silver in 1974. She also won three silvers at the European Indoor Championships – 800 in 1970; and 1,500 in 1971-72. Bragina won the 3K at the 1977 European Cup and individual silver and team gold at the 1977 International Cross-Country Championships. Besides setting four world records in the 1,500, she set three 3,000 metre world records by clocking 8:53.0 in 1972, 8:52.74 in 1974 and 8:27.12 in 1976. Bragina won 13 Soviet titles – 1,500 in 1968-70 and 1972-74; 3,000 in 1973-74; and cross-country in 1968-71 and 1977. Bragina worked as an athletics coach after finishing her sports career.
Personal Best: 1500 – 4:01.38 (1972).