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Galina Shamrai
Galina shamrai.jpg
Shamrai at the 1954 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships

Full name

Galina Yakovlevna Shamrai

Country represented

Flag of the Soviet Union.png USSR


October 5 1931 (1931-10-05) (age 89)
Tashkent, Uzbek SSR, USSR

Current status


Galina Yakovlevna Shamrai (Russian: Гали́на Я́ковлевна Шамра́й) (also known as Galina Rudko, Galina Ilyina after marriages; born October 5, 1931, Tashkent, USSR) is a retired Soviet gymnast and the first women's all-around World Champion from the USSR.

Featured Gymnast for November 2013


She trained at the Iskra club and later at the Burevestnik sports society in Moscow. Shamrai began competing at the USSR Championships in 1950, where she placed eighth in the all-around. She was added to the team roster for the 1952 Summer Olympics, which were the first Olympic performance for Soviet athletes. Shamrai didn't compete in the event finals, but was 8th in the all-around, contributing to the team's gold. She also won the team's silver in the portable apparatus event. In December of the same year, Shamrai earned the silver medal on the floor exercise at the USSR Championships. She continued a progressive movement upwards in 1953, placing fourth in the all-around at the Nationals.

1954 World Gymnastics Championships was the culmination of her competitive career. She won the all-around title, a gold medal in the team competition, a silver on bars and the team's silver in the portable apparatus. After this success she earned one more gold medal on the balance beam at the 1955 Nationals and retired in 1956.

Shamrai graduated from the Lenin Pedagogical Institute of the Moscow Region and worked as a coach at the Spartak club in Moscow. She married Anatoly Il'in, who played for Spartak and became the Olympic Champion in football at the 1956 Summer Olympics. The couple had a daughter, Elena, in 1958. Since 1975 Shamrai judged international gymnastics events.

In 1957 Galina Shamrai was awarded Order of the Badge of Honor. She lives in Moscow.

Medal Count

1950 USSR Championships 1st 8
1952 Helsinki Olympic Games 1st 2nd
USSR Championships 1st 2nd
1953 USSR Championships 2nd 4
1954 Rome World Championships 1st 2nd 1st 2nd
USSR Championships 1st 3rd
1956 USSR Championships 1st 6 4 2nd 5

World All-Around Champions
Vlasta DěkanováHelena RakoczyGalina RudkoLarisa LatyninaVěra ČáslavskáLudmilla TourischevaElena MukhinaNellie KimOlga BicherovaNatalia YurchenkoElena Shushunova | Oksana OmelianchikAurelia DobreSvetlana BoginskayaKim ZmeskalShannon MillerLilia PodkopayevaSvetlana KhorkinaMaria OlaruSvetlana KhorkinaChellsie MemmelVanessa FerrariShawn JohnsonBridget SloanAliya MustafinaJordyn WieberSimone BilesMorgan HurdSimone Biles