Irina Privalova
Irina Privalova, January 2020-1.jpg
Privalova in 2020
Personal information
Born (1968-11-22) 22 November 1968 (age 53)
Malakhovka, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union[1]
Height174 cm (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Weight54 kg (119 lb)[1]

Irina Anatolyevna Privalova (Russian: Ирина Анатольевна Привалова; on 22 November 1968) is a Russian Olympic gold medallist athlete.

Her Summer Olympics debut was in 1992 in the sprint events, where she won two medals— a bronze in the 100 m and running the anchor leg in the 4x100 team, a silver — and came fourth in the 200, representing the Unified Team. With three European individual championships and three individual world medals, Irina Privalova had been a formidable competitor during most of the 1990s (see #Sprints) but had not yet won an outdoor international event gold medal (as an individual athlete, she had won relay gold in 1993).

In 2000, she switched to the 400 m hurdles discipline winning the gold medal in 53.02 s (see #400 m Hurdles) and a bronze in the 4 x 400 m relay team for Russia.

Irina Privalova is currently the world indoor record holder in the 50 m (5.96 s) and 60 m (6.92 s) sprints (See #World Indoor Records). She has also been the world indoor champion at the 60 m (7.02 s in 1991), 200 m (22.15 s in 1993), and 400 m (50.23 s in 1995) events - the first athlete to win titles, indoors or outdoors, at three different distances.

Privalova achieved her best time (10.77 s) in the 100 m in 1994 - the fastest time for nine years.[2]

In 2008, aged 39, she reached the semi-finals of the 100 m at Russian championships in attempting to qualify for her fourth Olympics.[3] She had tried moving to the 800 m to qualify for the 2004 Olympics.[4]

In 2020, Privalova stood for the presidency of the Russian Athletics Federation. She failed to win but became vice-president. She later was called to stand-in as acting president when the elected president was forced to step down (See #Russian Athletics Federation Presidency).[5]


Privalova came to international recognition in 1991 at the World Indoor Championships that year. Racing as Irina Privalova-Sergeyeva, in the 60 m she defeated the great Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey who reached the final undefeated in 82 successive races. Ottey had her revenge in the 200 m with Privalova coming second, Ottey equalling the world record in her victory.[6]

At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, racing as Irina Privalova, she won a bronze medal in the 100 m.[7] The race was incredibly tight - Gail Devers won in 10.82 s, Juliet Cuthbert was second in 10.83 s, and Privalova third in 10.84 s. Privalova also came fourth in the 200 m.

At the 1993 World Indoor Championships, Privalova narrowly lost to Gail Devers in the 60 m, 6.95 s to 6.97 s, but won the 200 m title (in 22.15 s, then the second fastest time ever; she want faster in 1995 at 22.10 s, second fastest time ever to the world record of 21.87 s).

In the 1993 World Athletics Championships, Privalova won her only gold medal at a world championship in the 4x 100 m relay. She narrowly held off the United States's Gail Devers on the anchor leg - both teams recording a championship record time of 41.49 s.

In 1994, in August at the European Championships, for Russia she won gold in the 100 and 200 m and silver in the 4x100 m relay; in September, at the 1994 IAAF World Cup, representing Europe, she won the 100 m and 400 m, and came third in the 200m.

In 1995, Privalova moved up to the 400 m for the World Indoor Championships that year where she won in her first major race over the distance - she had not even contested the Russian championships at that distance.[8]

Her campaign at the 1996 Olympics was curtailed by injury. She was eliminated at the semi-final stage in the 100 m, did not start the 200 m , but was part of the Russian team that came fourth in the 4x100 m relay.

In 1997, Privalova suffered a torn muscle in the final of 60 m at the World Indoor Championships. She was out for 18 months but returned to win the 200 m at the European Championships in 1998.[9] In the individual events she camoe fourth in the 100 m and won bronze in the 200 m.

In 1998, at the European Championships, Privalova found a time of 10.83 s was only good enough for silver in 100 m, being defeated by Christine Arron's European record winning time of 10.73 s.[10] However, she successfully defended her European title in the 200 m and also won Silver in the 4x100 m relay.

In 1999, her World Championships ended prematurely when she had to withdraw from all her events after completing the first round of the 100 m. She did not compete again until the 2000 indoor season.[11]

400 m Hurdles

In 2000, Privalova switched to the 400 m hurdles as her main event targeting the 2000 Olympics. This followed a year out of the sport with injury, forcing her to miss the 1999 World Championships.[12]

She worked on the switch with her coach and husband, Vladimir Paraschuk. Paraschuk chose the 400 m hurdles because it was an event that reduced the risk of injury, was within Privalova's capabilities as an existing 400 m runner , and it had at the time a comparative lack of formidable competitors. In addition, she had tried athletics multi-events so had had some experience with hurdling.[13]

She achieved Olympic gold after running only 6 races previous to arriving at the games.

Injury and motherhood forced her retirement after 2000 and so she was never able to train to try the challenge of breaking the 400 m hurdles world record: in 2001, she suffered a knee ligament injury and then gave birth in December 2001 to her second child, forcing her to miss the 2002 season.[4][9][14]

In 2004, she attempted a switch to 800 m to attempt to qualify for the Olympics that year but failed in her attempt.[4] She had already stopped racing the 60 m ('her favourite event') to avoid injuries and was using the 800 m as part of her training schedule.[15]

Russian Athletics Federation Presidency

In 2020, Privalova stood for the presidency of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF).[16] She was chosen as first vice-president after coming third in the vote.[17]

In February 2021, the winner Peter Ivanov relinquished his authority until December 2022 to take up a position with a government agency with Privalova taking charge.[18]

World Indoor Records

Privalova achieved world record times indoors on six occasions:[19]

She also two other times that would have been records but were not ratified due to faults with the timing:

In addition, she shares the world's best time for the unofficial distance (for record purposes) of 300 m. Her time of 35.45 s was achieved on 17 January 1993 in Moscow (it was equalled by Shaunae Miller-Uibo in 2018).[21]

Personal life

Privalova originally competed under her married name of Sergeyeva. Her first pregnancy forced her to miss the 1988 Olympics.[22] After a separation and divorce, she competed under her maiden name of Privalova.[7][6]

Privalova married her coach, Vladimir Paraschuk, and in 2000 they lived in Moscow with sons from previous marriages. Paraschuk was also, at that time, coach of track and field at Moscow State University from which Privalova has a degree in journalism (graduated in 1995).[12] Under the tutelage of Paraschuk, Privalova trained alone, using the somewhat spartan facilities of the university, rather than attending a sports institute like most of her compatriots.[22]

In 2008, she is described as the mother of three children: Alexei, aged 20; Maria, aged 6; and Katya, then 2 years old.[3][4]

Accolades and Awards

In 1994, Privalova was awarded European Athlete of the Year Trophy for women.

In 2001, she was awarded the Silver Order of Merit by the IAAF (World Athletics) for an 'exceptional contribution to the world athletics movement'.[23]

World Rankings

Privalova was ranked among the best in the world in both the 100 and 200 m sprint events in the 1990s, then again later in the 400 m hurdles when she switched to that event in 2000. This is according to the votes of the experts of Track and Field News.[24]

World Rankings
Year 100 m 200 m 400 m 400 m h
1991 4th 4th - -
1992 1st 2nd - -
1993 4th 3rd - -
1994 3rd 3rd 9th -
1995 3rd 3rd - -
1996 7th 5th - -
1997 - -
1998 9th 5th - -
1999 - - - -
2000 - 1st


  1. ^ a b c Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Irina Privalova". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  2. ^ "IAAF Profile". Retrieved 26 July 2008.
  3. ^ a b Reuters Staff (18 July 2008). "Veteran Privalova fails to make Olympic team". Reuters. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d Fyodorov, Gennardy (10 July 2008). "Privalova wants to run again at 39". Reuters. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Privalova succeeds Ivanov". 15 February 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b Birkinshaw, R. Grant (2014). A History of Indoor Track and Field 1849-2013. editVallardi. pp. 234–235. ISBN 978-88-95684-56-7.
  7. ^ a b Casey, Ron (1 August 1992). "Irina PRIVALOVA - 100m bronze at 1992 Olympics". Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  8. ^ Wilson, Stephen (10 March 1995). "In a world championship with few stars, Irina Privalova stands". AP News. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Privalova to miss world championships with knee injury". World Athletics. 29 May 2001. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  10. ^ "Hosts hammer the opposition as Diagana takes a tumble". World Athletics. 19 August 1998. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Irina Privalova back on track". World Athletics. 13 January 2000. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  12. ^ a b Holchack, Vic (8 September 2000). "Irina Privalova targets Olympic hurdles gold". World Athletics. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  13. ^ Paraschuk, Vladimir. "Irina Privalova -Appraisal of Her 400M Hurdles Olympic Success". Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Irina Privalova to return to competition". World Athletics. 22 January 2003. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Privalova sets her sights on World Record". World Athletics. 27 October 2000. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  16. ^ Eveson, Ali. "Four-time Olympic medallist Privalova nominated for RusAF Presidency". Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  17. ^ Brown, Andy. "Russia's triathlon President to lead RusAF". The Sports Integrity Initiative. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Russian track president Pyotr Ivanov resigns 3 months into 4-year term". CBC Radio Canada. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  19. ^ Progression of IAAF World Records 2011 Edition. IAAF. pp. 408–409, 578.
  20. ^ "Privalova takes 60-meter women's indoor world record". UPI. 11 February 1993. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  21. ^ "WOMEN'S INDOOR WORLD RECORDS". Track and Field News. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  22. ^ a b Lilley, Jeffrey (30 July 1996). "A Must See, but Not On NBC: Irina Privalova". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  23. ^ "Irina Privalova Awarded IAAF Silver Order of Merit". World Athletics. 23 October 2001. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  24. ^ "WOMEN'S WORLD RANKINGS INDEXED BY ATHLETE, 1956-2019". Track and Field News. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
Awards and achievements Preceded bySally Gunnell Women's European Athlete of the Year 1994 Succeeded bySonia O'Sullivan Sporting positions Preceded byDaimí Pernía Women's 400 m Hurdles Best Year Performance 2000 Succeeded byNezha Bidouane