Olympic gold sprinter Irena Szewinska (May 24, 1946 – June 30, 2018) of Poland passed away aged 72

Irena Szewinska’s personality, experiences, power and inspiring effects served as a model for all of us. Our thoughts are with her family and the Polish Olympic Committee.

Her husband and former coach, Janusz Szewiński, informed his wife died shortly before midnight Friday in a Warsaw hospital after a battle with cancer.

Szewinska was one of the most successful and multitalented athletes of all time.
Her fantastic international career started at the 1964 Olympics Games in Tokyo where, as an 18-year-old competing under her maiden name of Irena Kirszenstein, she was part of Poland's victorious 4x100m relay team and also won silver medals in the 200m and long jump.Four years later, at the Olympics in Mexico City, she got a bronze medal in the 100m and in 1972 she added to her medal collection with a 200m bronze medal. However, in 1973 she discovered the event with which she is most usually associated. Switching to the 400m, she quickly proved very adept at the new distance. The following year she became the first woman to break 50 seconds over one lap of the track. She won the 400m in the 1976 Olympic Games in another World record of 49.28. Between 1974 and the 1978 European Athletic Championships, she won 34 consecutive 400m finals. In addition to her Olympic Games successes, on the continental stage she won five gold medals at the European Athletics Championships, including a triple triumph in the 200m, Long Jump and 4x100m in 1966.

Szewinska became an IOC member in 1998. In 2012, she was among the first inductees to the International Association of Athletics Federations Hall of Fame.

We take this sad chance to point out that Irena Szewinska will always be remembered with respect, love and gratitude.