Athlete Profile

Elena Ginko

  • COUNTRY Belarus Belarus
  • DATE OF BIRTH 30 JUL 1976
  • COUNTRY Belarus Belarus
  • DATE OF BIRTH 30 JUL 1976


Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.


Updated 28 April 2008

Elena GINKO, Belarus (20k/50k Walk)

Born: 30 July, 1976, Svetlogorsk, Gomel region
Height: 1.70; Weight: 54kg
Lives: Minsk
Coach: Boris Drozdov

Some dream of becoming an actor, some a doctor. Elena Ginko, since her childhood, dreamt of sports. Her father had a reputation as an aficionado of sports and he managed to entrain his daughter with this preoccupation. Active and energetic at school, Elena took part in many school competitions. For some time she went in for swimming and, in the fourth class, at the age of 11, she fell for athletics. She went to sport school in her native town, Svetlogorsk, to trainer Valentine Volodkovich, with whom she began her path to the top.

After several years of study Ginko was advised by a young trainer (she doesn’t remember her name) to try race walking and she agreed. At the same time she ran middle distances. The new trainer did not work at the school for long - she got married and moved to another town - but Ginko (born Elena Ryzhova) nevertheless continued walking.

At 14, Ginko competed in the National Championship among coevals in Vitebsk. Young walkers at first walked 2km and then 3km. In a combination of these distances, she took fourth place and, in the next year, second place. After that the successful trainer, Feodor Kulakovsky, suggested she to move to Mogilyov, to study in the Regional school of Olympic reserves. Kulakovsky was the trainer of double World Championships bronze medallist, Valentina Tsybulskaya, and other known walkers.

When she was 15, after moving to Mogilyov, to the Regional School of Olympic reserves, Ginko began to succeed. Training in close proximity to famous athletes brought a lot of advantage. By the end of year she executed the requirements to become a candidate for the master of sports, and the next year she became a master of sports.

“If I had doubts concerning my sports future before, in Mogilyov I understood, that I can do much in sports,” Ginko said. “I have been provided in school with everything I need - meals, training equipment - and I didn’t depend on my parents. All I had to do was train and produce results. Victories urged me on even more, encouraged me to train with greater energy. Sport became my profession.”

A meeting with Vict?r Ginko, the leader of the Belarusian team in the 50km Walk, was a happy event in her life. In 1997 they decided to get married. The husband became her watchful assistant, always ready to help and advise with training and performance.

But Elena’s path was not smooth. Having excessive desire to show her best, she frequently failed to reach the finish because of disqualification. In 2005 she was 5th in the 20km Walk at the Russian open championship in Adler, setting what remains a career best 1:28:11, but she competed hors concours,  meaning that,  even if she had won, she would not have been awarded a medal. In the World Championships, in Helsinki, she was 13th (1:31:36).

In 2006, at the World Cup in La Coruña, the Belarus team took third place, with Ginko eighth. Ginko’s biggest success came only last year, in the European Cup in England, at Royal Leamington Spa, where she was third in the 20k Walk and Belarus won the women’s first prize. She will remember it for a long time. She wanted a medal very much but, before the start, she tried not to think about it. Anything could happen, especially in a discipline where the judges play such a critical part.

At 15km the Russian, Olga Kaniskina, and the Belarusian, Ryta Turava, made a break while Ginko stayed behind in the second group. At 16km Ginko increased her tempo and closed on the two leaders, forging a gap which ensured her third place. Turava’s victory, Ginko’s third place, and Sniazhana Yurchanka (12th) secured a team victory for Belarus. “Ryta is an obvious leader, a favourite in our team,” Ginko said. “She always helps in difficult situations. Her presence adds confidence. Her presence is invaluable, especially at team competitions.”

Prior to Leamington Spa, Ginko had many successful performances at less significant competitions which, nonetheless, were valuable in her sports career. In the 2007 Race Walking Grand Prix, she finished second in Naucalpan, Mexico, in March, and, three months later, in Krakow, Poland, third. She adds to this list the Olympic Games in Athens, where she was ninth. Also in her memory is a victory at 50km in Scanzorosciate, Italy, in 2004 (4:12:16). Her husband Vict?r won the 100km Walk there.

In the IAAF World Race Walking Cup, in Cheboksary, Ginko will not only compete for a top place but also for a place in the Olympic Games. She has already won the Olympic license, but it is necessary for her to finish in the first ten. Only then will an Olympic team spot be guaranteed to her.


Personal Bests
10km Walk: 42:53 (2005)
20km Walk: 1:28:11 (2005)
50km Walk: 4:12:16 (2004)

Yearly Progression
10km Walk: 2002 - 43:52; 2004 - 44:28; 2005 - 42:53; 2006 - 43:38.3; 2008 - 45:33.
20km Walk: 2001 - 1:33:21; 2002 - 1:30:57; 2003 - 1:37:23; 2004 - 1:29:02; 2005 - 1:28:11; 2006 - 1:29:06; 2007 - 1:28:29; 2008 - 1:37:40.
50km Walk:  2002 - 4:19:13; 2004 - 4:12:16.


Career Highlights
2001  17th  EAA Race Walking Cup
2004    9th Olympic Games
2005  13th World Championships
2007    2nd IAAF Race Walking Challenge
2007    3rd  IAAF Race Walking Challenge
2007    3rd EAA Race Walking Cup

Prepared by Mikhail Dubitski for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008.

Personal Best - Outdoor
Performance Wind Place Date
10,000 Metres Race Walk 43:38.3 Brest, BLR 27 MAY 2006
10 Kilometres Race Walk 42:53 Kraków 17 SEP 2005
20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:28:11 Adler 12 MAR 2005
50 Kilometres Race Walk 4:18:53 Scanzorosciate 19 OCT 2008
Personal Best - Indoor
Performance Wind Place Date
10,000 Metres Race Walk 44:07.43 Mogilev 28 JAN 2006
Progression - Outdoor showShow All Graphs
10,000 Metres Race Walk Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2006 43:38.3 Brest, BLR 27 MAY
10 Kilometres Race Walk Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2008 45:33 San Pietro Clarenza 26 APR
2005 42:53 Kraków 17 SEP
2004 44:28 Piacenza 26 SEP
2002 43:52 Hildesheim 24 AUG
20 Kilometres Race Walk Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2009 1:38:47 Chihuahua 14 MAR
2008 1:29:35 Cheboksary 11 MAY
2007 1:28:29 Royal Leamington Spa 20 MAY
2006 1:29:06 La Coruña 13 MAY
2005 1:28:11 Adler 12 MAR
2004 1:29:02 Minsk 08 JUL
2003 1:37:23 Naumburg 13 APR
2002 1:30:57 Brest, BLR 04 JUN
2001 1:33:21 Dudince 19 MAY
50 Kilometres Race Walk Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2008 4:18:53 Scanzorosciate 19 OCT
2002 4:19:13 Scanzorosciate 27 OCT
Progression - Indoor showShow All Graphs
10,000 Metres Race Walk Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2009 45:09.06 Mogilev 13 FEB
2006 44:07.43 Mogilev 28 JAN
Honours - 20 Kilometres Race Walk
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXIX Olympic Games f DQ Beijing (National Stadium) 21 AUG 2008
23rd IAAF World Race Walking Cup 9 1:29:35 Cheboksary 11 MAY 2008
11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 16 1:35:59 Osaka (Nagai Stadium) 31 AUG 2007
22nd IAAF World Race Walking Cup 8 1:29:06 La Coruña 13 MAY 2006
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 13 1:31:36 Helsinki 07 AUG 2005
28th Olympic Games 9 1:30:22 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 23 AUG 2004
21st IAAF World Race Walking Cup 0 DQ Naumburg 02 MAY 2004
20th IAAF World Race Walking Cup 0 DQ Torino 12 OCT 2002


Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.


Updated 28 April 2008

Elena GINKO, Belarus (20k/50k Walk)

Born: 30 July, 1976, Svetlogorsk, Gomel region
Height: 1.70; Weight: 54kg
Lives: Minsk
Coach: Boris Drozdov

Some dream of becoming an actor, some a doctor. Elena Ginko, since her childhood, dreamt of sports. Her father had a reputation as an aficionado of sports and he managed to entrain his daughter with this preoccupation. Active and energetic at school, Elena took part in many school competitions. For some time she went in for swimming and, in the fourth class, at the age of 11, she fell for athletics. She went to sport school in her native town, Svetlogorsk, to trainer Valentine Volodkovich, with whom she began her path to the top.

After several years of study Ginko was advised by a young trainer (she doesn’t remember her name) to try race walking and she agreed. At the same time she ran middle distances. The new trainer did not work at the school for long - she got married and moved to another town - but Ginko (born Elena Ryzhova) nevertheless continued walking.

At 14, Ginko competed in the National Championship among coevals in Vitebsk. Young walkers at first walked 2km and then 3km. In a combination of these distances, she took fourth place and, in the next year, second place. After that the successful trainer, Feodor Kulakovsky, suggested she to move to Mogilyov, to study in the Regional school of Olympic reserves. Kulakovsky was the trainer of double World Championships bronze medallist, Valentina Tsybulskaya, and other known walkers.

When she was 15, after moving to Mogilyov, to the Regional School of Olympic reserves, Ginko began to succeed. Training in close proximity to famous athletes brought a lot of advantage. By the end of year she executed the requirements to become a candidate for the master of sports, and the next year she became a master of sports.

“If I had doubts concerning my sports future before, in Mogilyov I understood, that I can do much in sports,” Ginko said. “I have been provided in school with everything I need - meals, training equipment - and I didn’t depend on my parents. All I had to do was train and produce results. Victories urged me on even more, encouraged me to train with greater energy. Sport became my profession.”

A meeting with Vict?r Ginko, the leader of the Belarusian team in the 50km Walk, was a happy event in her life. In 1997 they decided to get married. The husband became her watchful assistant, always ready to help and advise with training and performance.

But Elena’s path was not smooth. Having excessive desire to show her best, she frequently failed to reach the finish because of disqualification. In 2005 she was 5th in the 20km Walk at the Russian open championship in Adler, setting what remains a career best 1:28:11, but she competed hors concours,  meaning that,  even if she had won, she would not have been awarded a medal. In the World Championships, in Helsinki, she was 13th (1:31:36).

In 2006, at the World Cup in La Coruña, the Belarus team took third place, with Ginko eighth. Ginko’s biggest success came only last year, in the European Cup in England, at Royal Leamington Spa, where she was third in the 20k Walk and Belarus won the women’s first prize. She will remember it for a long time. She wanted a medal very much but, before the start, she tried not to think about it. Anything could happen, especially in a discipline where the judges play such a critical part.

At 15km the Russian, Olga Kaniskina, and the Belarusian, Ryta Turava, made a break while Ginko stayed behind in the second group. At 16km Ginko increased her tempo and closed on the two leaders, forging a gap which ensured her third place. Turava’s victory, Ginko’s third place, and Sniazhana Yurchanka (12th) secured a team victory for Belarus. “Ryta is an obvious leader, a favourite in our team,” Ginko said. “She always helps in difficult situations. Her presence adds confidence. Her presence is invaluable, especially at team competitions.”

Prior to Leamington Spa, Ginko had many successful performances at less significant competitions which, nonetheless, were valuable in her sports career. In the 2007 Race Walking Grand Prix, she finished second in Naucalpan, Mexico, in March, and, three months later, in Krakow, Poland, third. She adds to this list the Olympic Games in Athens, where she was ninth. Also in her memory is a victory at 50km in Scanzorosciate, Italy, in 2004 (4:12:16). Her husband Vict?r won the 100km Walk there.

In the IAAF World Race Walking Cup, in Cheboksary, Ginko will not only compete for a top place but also for a place in the Olympic Games. She has already won the Olympic license, but it is necessary for her to finish in the first ten. Only then will an Olympic team spot be guaranteed to her.


Personal Bests
10km Walk: 42:53 (2005)
20km Walk: 1:28:11 (2005)
50km Walk: 4:12:16 (2004)

Yearly Progression
10km Walk: 2002 - 43:52; 2004 - 44:28; 2005 - 42:53; 2006 - 43:38.3; 2008 - 45:33.
20km Walk: 2001 - 1:33:21; 2002 - 1:30:57; 2003 - 1:37:23; 2004 - 1:29:02; 2005 - 1:28:11; 2006 - 1:29:06; 2007 - 1:28:29; 2008 - 1:37:40.
50km Walk:  2002 - 4:19:13; 2004 - 4:12:16.


Career Highlights
2001  17th  EAA Race Walking Cup
2004    9th Olympic Games
2005  13th World Championships
2007    2nd IAAF Race Walking Challenge
2007    3rd  IAAF Race Walking Challenge
2007    3rd EAA Race Walking Cup

Prepared by Mikhail Dubitski for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008.