As a youth Yury Mikhaylov was a promising boxer, winning the local championships in 1949, but he lost interest in boxing soon after that. He then took up skating to stay physically fit and over the time fell in love with this sport. In his first Soviet Championships in 1954, Mikhaylov was fourth in his favorite 1500 m distance. In races at Alma-Ata and Medeo in 1955, Mikhaylov was second behind the great Yevgeny Grishin. The best year of Mikhaylov’s sporting career was 1956, when at he posted a new world record at 1500 m (2:09.1) in Davos. Then at the 1956 Olympics, he skated first in the 500 m, but fell and did not finish. Two days later in his favorite distance he watched Grishin finish his 1500 m in a new world record time of 2:08.6. In the next pair, Mikhaylov equalled Grishin’s time and they shared Olympic gold, becoming the first Soviet Olympic champions in speed skating. Later that year Mikhaylov won distance medals at the World Championships (first in the 500 m and third in 1500 m) and European Championships (first in the 1500 m and second in the 500 m). In 1956 he also won his only Soviet championships title achieving it over 1500 m. At the 1957 European championships Mikhaylov finished second in the 500 m and that was his last distance medal in major championships. Mikhaylov retired from skating in 1961 and worked the next 30 years in a local sport school in Tver, first as a skating coach, then as a director of the school, which now bears his name.
Personal Bests: 500 – 41.4 (1955); 1500 – 2:08.6 (1956); 5000 – 8:15.0 (1957); 10000 – 17:24.6 (1956).