Irina Privalova was one of the top female sprinters of the world in the 1990s, who later switched to the 400 hurdles, where she considered her medal chances better. Privalova made her international début at the 1991 World Championships, winning silver as a member of the Soviet 4×100 relay team. At the 1992 Olympics, she repeated the relay silver and added a bronze in the 100. At the 1993 World Championships, Privalova won her only World title, in the 4×100 m relay and also won silver in the 4×400 relay and bronze in the 200 metres and at the 1995 World Championships, she won silver in the 200 and bronze in the 100. She also competed at two European Championships during her career and won three golds (1994 100/200 and 1998 200), two silvers (1994 4×100 and 1998 100) and one bronze (1998 4×100). But at the end of the 1990s, Privalova felt that the 2000 Olympics were the last chance for her to win an Olympic gold, but she did not think she could win gold in the sprints, as Marion Jones seemed unbeatable at that time and she also did not see her 400 chances as very good, because of Cathy Freeman and Marie-José Pérec, although the latter would retire before the 2000 Olympics. So Privalova concentrated on the intermediate hurdles, an event she had not done before, but one with less competition. And at the 2000 Olympics, running only her sixth race in the 400 hurdles, she surprised by winning the Olympic title, beating the defending champion Deon Hemmings. Privalova also won bronze in the 4×400 metre relay at the 2000 Olympics.
Personal Bests: 100 – 10.77 (1994); 200 – 21.87 (1995); 400 – 49.89 (1993); 400H – 53.02 (2000).
Athlete Olympic Results Content