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Irina Rodnina
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Figure Skater
    (September 12, 1949- )
    Born in Moscow, Russia
    With Alexi Ulanov, won four World Championships (1969-72) and one Olympic gold medal (1972) in pairs figure skating
    With Alexander Zaitsev, won six World Championships (1973-78) and two Olympic gold medals (1976,1980) in pairs figure skating
    Elected to the Russian parliament (2007)
    With hockey goalie Vladislav Tretiak, lit the Olympic torch at the Sochi games (2014)
    Her partnership with Ulanov broke up partly over her constant mocking of him.
    She was married and divorced twice, including from skating partner Zaitsev.
    She tweeted a picture of Barack Obama eating with a banana photoshopped in the foreground, which many people considered racist (September 13, 2013).
    Her initial response: 'Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, and you should answer for your own hang-ups.'
    Five months later, she claimed her Twitter account had been hacked. (Free hint: That excuse has a much better chance of working if it is your first reaction.)
    She and Ulanov popularized a more athletic skating style, full of complex leaps and stunts.
    She won the 1972 World Championship despite suffering a concussion and cranial hematoma in an accident while practicing lifts the day before competition started.
    When their music unexpectedly stopped during the short program at the 1973 World Championship, she and Zaitsev continued their routine without interruption, earning a standing ovation (and the gold medal).
    She earned ten World Championships and three Olympic gold medals, equaling Sonja Henie's totals.
    Her World Championships streak ended only because was pregnant in 1979.

Credit: C. Fishel

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