Vladimir Kuts

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameVladimir Petrovich•Kuts
Used nameVladimir•Kuts
Original nameВладимир Петрович•Куц
Other namesVolodymyr Petrovych Kuts, Володимир Петрович Куц
Born7 February 1927 in Oleksyne, Sumy (UKR)
Died16 August 1975 in Moskva (Moscow), Moskva (RUS)
Measurements172 cm / 72 kg
AffiliationsVP Leningrad
NOC Soviet Union
Nationality Ukraine
Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2


Vladimir Kuts took up athletics in 1945, when he started to serve in the Soviet Navy. He was first noticed by Soviet sports officials in 1951 and in 1953 won his first two Soviet titles in the 5 and 10,000. He repeated that double victory at the Soviet Championships three more times (1954-56) and won the 10K and cross-country titles in 1957. In 1954, Kuts established himself as one of the world’s best long-distance runners, winning the European 5,000 title with a world record of 13:56.6 and beating such stars as Emil Zatopek and Chris Chataway. A month later, Kuts lost his world record to Chataway, but took it back 10 days later, clocking 13:51.2 in Prague. In September 1955, Kuts set his third 5,000 m world record by clocking 13:46.8 in Belgrade and although his world record was broken by Sándor Iharos and Gordon Pirie before the 1956 Olympics, he still went to the Olympics as the favorite to win both long-distance golds as just a month and a half before the Olympics, Kuts had broken the 10K world record of 28:30.4.

At the Olympics, he first won the gold in 10,000, leading from start-to-finish and then five days later won the 5,000 m in a similar fashion. He set his last world record in the 5K in 1957, running 13:35.0 in Rome, but soon after that he was forced to retire from athletics due to constant stomach pains that prevented him from training properly. After his retirement, Kuts worked as an athletics coach, but the constant stomach pains led to drinking, which led to the loss of his job. In his last years, Kuts’ alcoholism deepened and he became seriously overweight, and suffered a stroke in 1972. On 16 August 1975, his lifeless body was found in his flat in what seemed an apparent suicide from mixing sleeping pills and alcohol.

Personal Bests: 5000 – 13:35.0 (1957); 10000 – 28:30.4 (1956).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1956 Summer Olympics Athletics URS UKR Vladimir Kuts
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes