Athletics in Russia
Russian's female athletes have outshone their male counterparts in many major international athletics events since the country became 'Russia' again after the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991. The nation has been associated with field events and race walking in particular, producing many world champions in these disciplines - in fact, the fastest 12 athletes in history over the Women's 20k Race Walk are, remarkably, all Russian. There have been several exceptions with Irina Privalova (100m/200m) and Svetlana Masterkova (800m/1500m) achieving great success in other areas.

The three World Records currently held by Russia are all by female competitors - the 400m Hurdles (Yuliya Pechenkina, 52.34), Pole Vault (Yelena Isinbayeva, 5.06m) and 3000m Steeplechase (Gulnara Galkina, 8:58.81).

Magical Moment

It was almost inevitable but the achievement of Yelena Isinbayeva in becoming the first woman to clear 5m in the Pole Vault at Crystal Palace on 22 July 2005 was still a superb accomplishment. Her current World Records stand at 5.06m (outdoors) and 5.00m (indoors), while she has set a total of 27 new marks in all. Isinbayeva was voted the IAAF's Female Athlete of the Year on three occasions - in 2004, 2005 and 2008, to emphasise her standing as one of the true greats in Russian athletics.

Current Stars

In addition to Isinbayeva, Russia can boast numerous other world-class female athletes such as World and Olympic High Jump Champion Anna Chicherova, Tatyana Chernova (Heptathlon) and Mariya Savinova (800m). Of their nine 2011 World Champions, only two are male - race walkers Valeriy Borchin (20k) and Sergey Bakulin (50k). Russia also has several High Jumpers capable of winning global titles, including Ivan Ukhov, Aleksey Dmitrik, Andrey Silnov and Aleksandr Shustov (4 of the world's top 7 in 2011). Eight golds were won by the Russian team at London 2012.

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