Mariya Pinigina (née Kulchunova) was the top female Soviet long sprinter in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She first competed internationally at the 1978 European Championships, where she was fourth in the 400 and won silver as a member of the Soviet 4x400 relay. Pinigina missed the 1980 Olympics due to injury and the 1984 Olympics due to the Soviet boycott, but she won gold in the 4x400 at the 1984 Friendship Games. Pinigina finally competed at the Olympics in 1988, winning a 4x400 relay gold medal with a world record of 3:15.17, which, as of 2014, still stands. At the World Championships, she won silver in the 1987 4x400, and bronzes in the 1983 400 and 4x400 relay. Her other major titles included 400 victories at the 1979 and 1983 Universiade, 1987 European Indoors, and relay victories at the 1983 Universiade and 1985 and 1987 European Cups. Pinigina won 13 Soviet titles – four in the 400; eight in the 4x400; and the 1979 4x200. Pinigina finished her sports career after the 1988 Olympics and later worked as an athletics coach in Yakutiya (Respublika Sakha). Her husband Pavel Pinigin won the 1976 Olympic gold in lightweight freestyle wrestling.
Personal Best: 400 – 49.19 (1983).