track and field
1956, 1960, 1964
An outstanding athlete, Krepkina was a member of three Soviet Olympic track and field teams. At the 1956 Melbourne Games, she competed in the 100-meter and advanced to the semifinals after finishing second in her preliminary heat (11.9), but did not make the final. She also ran the lead leg for the Soviet Union's 4x100-meter relay team that finished in fourth place with a time of 45.6 (0.7 seconds behind the bronze medal-winning U.S. team).
Four years later at the Rome Olympics, Krepkina won her only Olympic medal when she captured the gold in the long jump with a leap of 20'10 3/4", setting an Olympic record in the process. Krepkina also competed in the 100-meter sprint at the 1960 Games and won her first-round heat in 11.8 seconds. In the second round, Krepkina finished in second place (12.0), but she was eliminated in the semifinals after finishing sixth with a time of 12.0 (American Wilma Rudolph tied Krepkina's world record in the heat). A member of the 4x100-meter relay team (she ran the lead leg again), Krepkina and the Soviet team again finished in fourth in the final (45.2 -- only 0.2 seconds behind Poland for third place).
Krepkina's final Olympic appearance was at the 1964 Tokyo Games when she ran for the Soviet 4x100-meter relay team. Vera ran in the preliminary heat (the Soviets finished third in 44.9), but not in the final, when the Soviet team finished in fourth place for the third consecutive Olympiad.
After beginning her athletic career in 1949, Krepkina became one of the best female track and field athletes in the world in the 1950s and 1960s. A top sprinter and jumper, she was a member of the Soviet National team beginning in 1952 and set two world records in the 1950s. In 1956, Krepkina was a member of the Soviet 4x100-meter relay team that broke the world record with a time of 45.2 (one of her teammates was Maria Itkina). Two years later, she broke the world record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.3; it would be three years until the record was broken by Wilma Rudolph.
During her track and field career, Krepkina was successful in a number of competitions. She won the 100-meter (11.9) at the 1957 World University Games, and then repeated as 100-meter champion (11.7) two years later; she also won the long jump (20'9 1/2") at the 1959 World University Games. At the European Championships, Krepkina was a member of the Soviet Union's gold medal-winning 4x100-meter relay team in 1954 and 1958, and won the silver medal in the 100-meter (11.7) in 1958. She was a Merited Master of Sports of the Soviet Union.
Birth and Death Dates:
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Jewish Almanac, edited by Richard Siegel and Carl Rheins (New York: Bantam Books, 1980)
New York Times, November 23-December 8, 1956
New York Times, August 27-September 9, 1960