Nadezhda Olizarenko - U.S.S.R. - 1980 Olympic Games 800m gold medal

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 27 July 1980

Click on image to enlarge

      Saturday, 28 November 1953
      Bryansk, Soviet Union.
  • U.S.S.R.
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Nadezhda OLIZARENKO - U.S.S.R. - 1980 Olympic Games 800m gold medal


Competing under her maiden name of Mushta, Nadezhda Olizarenko made a rapid improvement as a middle distance runner during the 1978 season. Prior to that year, Nadezhda had an 800m personal best of 1min 59.76sec, but this quickly improved in a number of steps including a 1min 58.09sec victory in Dortmund on 30 June, followed by 1min 57.6sec at Vilnius on 20 July, and a further reduction to 1min 57.2sec at Podolsk on 12 August. This was a mere prelude to the European Championships in Prague on 31 August, where Nadezhda won the silver medal in another new personal best of 1min 55.82sec, finishing a mere 0.02sec behind her teammate Tatyana Providokhina. Three days later Nadezhda won another silver medal as a member of the Soviet Union's second-placed 4 x 400m relay team.


Shortly afterwards, Nadezhda married Soviet steeplechaser Sergey Olizarenko, and she competed under her married surname during the latter part of her career. In 1979, her major achievements in the 800m were a win at the World University Games, and a second place at the World Cup in Montreal. On 12 June 1980, at a meeting in Moscow, Olizarenko set a new world record for 800m of 1min 54.85sec, defeating a field which included the existing world record holder Tatyana Kazankina. This made Nadezhda the favourite for the 800m title at the Moscow Olympic Games on 27 July, and she did not disappoint, leading all the way, and racing away from the field off the final bend (see photo above) to win the gold medal. In the process she smashed her own world record setting a new global mark of 1min 53.43sec. Not content with that achievement, Olizarenko came out five days later and won the bronze medal in the 1500m won by Kazankina. (Ron Casey)

Women's 800m. Final.

Olympic Games 1980

1. Nadiya OLIZARENKO   SOV   1: 53.43 WR
2. Olga MINEYEVA   SOV   1: 54.81
3. Tatyana PROVIDOKHINA   SOV   1: 55.46



Women's 1500m. Final.

Olympic Games 1980

1. Tatyana KAZANKINA   SOV   3: 56.6 OR
2. Christiane WARTENBERG   GDR   3: 57.8
3. Nadiya OLIZARENKO   SOV   3: 59.6



                                                    1986 European 800metres Champion.


Nadezhda Olizarenko was one of the star performers at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, where she won the gold medal in the 800m and a bronze in the 1500m. Olizarenko did not compete during the following two years and returned tentatively to the track in 1983, recording a best time over 800m of 1min 58.16sec. She was back to her top form in 1984, winning the 800m at the Olympic Day meet in Potsdam in a time of 1min 56.37sec, but unfortunately she was denied the opportunity of defending her title at the following month's Olympic Games in Los Angeles, due to the Soviet boycott. On 5 August, the day before the 800m final in Los Angeles, Olizarenko and three teammates set a new world record of 7min 50.17sec for the 4 x 800m relay in a specially planned record attempt in Moscow.


In 1985, Nadezhda was still producing quality performances, but it seemed that she had lost her winning touch, finishing second in the 800m at the European Indoor Championships; second in the national championships; second in the European Cup; and third at the World Cup in Canberra. It seemed a similar tale in 1986, when Olizarenko finished only sixth at the Goodwill Games in Moscow on 6 July, and then third at the Soviet national championships in Kiev 10 days later. However it was a different story at the European Championships in Stuttgart on 28 August, where the 32-year-old Olizarenko fought off the challenges of her younger opponents to win the gold medal (see photo above 28th. August 1986 .πhoto G.H. ©) in 1min 57.15sec. Nadezhda finished seventh at the following year's World Championships in Rome, and her final appearance in a major international championships was at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, where suffering from injury, she finished a disappointing last in her semi-final. (Ron Casey)


In 1980 Olizarenko set a world record and  her personal best over 800 metres with 1:53.43; this record stood until 1983, when it was bettered by Jarmila Kratochvílová.


Women's 800m. Final.

European Athletics Championships 1986.

1. Nadezdha OLIZARENKO   URS   1.57.15
2. Sigrun WODARS   GDR   1.57.42
3. Lyubov GURINA   URS   1.57.73
4. Gaby BUSSMANN   FRG   1.58.57
5. Milena STRNADOVA   CZE   1.58.89
6. Mitica JUNGHIATU   ROM   1.59.22



ANNUAL PROGRESS. 800 metres.


1988     1:56.0       Kharkov     04 JUL
1987     2:00.28     Roma  31 AUG
1987     2:00.28     Roma  29 AUG
1985     1:56.25     Leningrad     01 AUG
1984     1:56.09     Kyiv       22 JUN
1980     1:53.43     Moskva  27 JUL
1978     1:55.82     Praha      31 AUG