Irina Press

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameIrina Natanovna•Press
Used nameIrina•Press
Original nameИрина Натановна•Пресс
Born10 March 1939 in Kharkiv, Kharkiv (UKR)
Died21 February 2004 in Moskva (Moscow), Moskva (RUS)
Measurements168 cm / 75 kg
AffiliationsDynamo St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg (RUS) / Dynamo Moskva, Moskva (RUS)
NOC Soviet Union
Nationality Russian Federation


Together with her sister Tamara, Irina Press formed a duo known as the “Press Sisters”, who were successful in various women’s track & field events in the early 1960s. Though slightly less successful than her sister, Irina still won two Olympic gold medals. Her first gold medal came in 1960 at the Rome Olympics in the 80 hurdles, a discipline where she had set a world record of 10.6 two months earlier. Press later set four more 80 hurdles world records – 10.5 twice in 1964 and 10.4 and 10.3 in 1965. In 1960 she also competed in the 4×100 relay, finishing fourth with the Soviet team. Her second Olympic gold medal came at the 1964 Tokyo Games in the pentathlon. Press had set several world records in the pentathlon prior to the Tokyo Games (4,880 in 1959; 4,902, 4,959, 4,972 in 1960; and 5,137 in 1961), where the event made its début, and she won in yet another world record of 5,246. In 1964 she also competed in the 80 metre hurdles, finishing fourth, and in the shot put, finishing sixth behind her older sister.

Irina Press also competed at the 1962 European Championships, but did not finish the pentathlon due to injury and at the 1961 Universiade, where she won gold in the 80 hurdles. Irina won 13 Soviet titles – 80 hurdles in 1960-61 and 1964-66; 4×100 relay 1961 and 1964; and pentathlon in 1959-61 and 1964-66. The Press sisters retired in 1966, coinciding with the introduction of required gender verification in track & field. This led to widespread, yet never proven, rumors regarding the Presses’ genders. After earning a physical education degree, Irina Press worked with the Dynamo club to guide other top athletes in their careers. Until 2000 she also worked as a department head of the Soviet and later the Russian State Committee of Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism and from 2000, until her death in 2004, she worked as the head of the Committee of Physical Culture and Sports of the Government of Moskva City.

Personal Bests: 100 – 11.4 (1960); 80H – 10.3 (1965); SP – 17.21 (1964); Pen – 5246 (1964).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1960 Summer Olympics Athletics URS RUS Irina Press
100 metres, Women (Olympic) DNS
80 metres Hurdles, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) Soviet Union 4
1964 Summer Olympics Athletics URS RUS Irina Press
80 metres Hurdles, Women (Olympic) 4
Shot Put, Women (Olympic) 6
Pentathlon, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold

Olympic family relations

Special Notes