Faina Melnyk

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Faina Grigorievna Veleva-Melnik (, Faina Hryhorivna Velieva-Melnyk; born July 9, 1945, in Bakota, Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Ukrainian SSR) was a Ukrainian-born Soviet discus thrower, a 1972 Summer Olympics champion in the discus event.

Melnik, who is considered to be one of the most dominant track and field athletes of the 1970s, set the world record twice and held the # 1 ranking in women's discus from 1971–77, the third longest world's # 1 ranking streak in women's track and field history.


Melnik competed for VSS Sevan Yerevan (Armenian SSR) (1969–73), and later for VSS Spartak Moscow (1976–80).

At the 1971 European Championships in Helsinki, during her international début, she set a world record in the discus throw (64.22 m).

In 1972 at the Munich Olympic Games, she established another world record (with her final throw) of 66.62 metres. During the contest she broke the Olympic record three times, with each of her three final throws.

She took her second European title in 1974 at Rome with a throw of exactly 69.00 metres.

Melnik was the first woman to break the 70-meter mark in 1975. Her personal best was 70.50 m in 1976. At the Olympic Games in 1976 she received a 4th place.

In 1977, she won the first World Cup discus competition in Düsseldorf.

A member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Melnik is currently a teacher in Moscow.

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