The top performer among all athletes, both male and female, at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, where she won a record seven medals, Maria Gorokhovskaya was born in Yevpotoria, Ukraine (formerly Soviet Union) on October 17, 1921.
She won her first USSR title on the balance beam in 1948 and came to the Olympics as the two-time national champion. These were the first Olympic Games in which Soviet gymnasts participated and they dominated the competition, with Gorokhovskaya leading them. She finished second in all four individual apparatus events—balance beam, floor exercise, horse vault and uneven parallel bars—thus winning the gold medal in the all-around competition. While her seven medals rank her eleventh in total medals won by a woman athlete, she is the only one to have won all of them in only one Olympic Game.
At the 1954 World Championships Gorokhovskaya again helped the Soviet Union capture the gold medal in the team event, the silver in team exercises and the bronze in floor exercises. She then retired.
Only in 1990, when she immigrated to Israel, was she discovered to be a Jew and she was thereupon inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Maria Gorohovskaya died in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2001.
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How to cite this page
Miller, Uri. "Maria Gorokhovskaya." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on February 26, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/gorokhovskaya-maria>.