Yulia Gushchina

Athlete Profile

    Russia Russia
    04 MAR 1983
Yuliya Gushchina (Getty Images)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
100 Metres 11.13 +1.7 Zhukovskiy (Meteor) 24 JUN 2006
200 Metres 22.53 -1.1 Helsinki (Olympic Stadium) 10 AUG 2005
400 Metres 49.28 Cheboksary 05 JUL 2012

Personal Best - Indoor

Performance Wind Place Date
60 Metres 7.24 Volgograd (Infizkult Manezh Stadium) 21 JAN 2007
200 Metres 22.82 Moskva 24 JAN 2006
300 Metres 36.93 Liévin 05 MAR 2010
400 Metres 51.26 Moskva 17 FEB 2006

Progression - Outdoor

100 Metres

Performance Wind Place Date
2011 11.30 0.0 Cheboksary 21 JUL
2008 11.33 0.0 Dessau 30 MAY
2007 11.36 +0.9 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 02 JUL
2007 11.36 -1.9 Tula (Arsenal Stadium) 18 JUN
2006 11.13 +1.7 Zhukovskiy (Meteor) 24 JUN
2005 11.50 +1.6 Tallinn 16 AUG

200 Metres

Performance Wind Place Date
2013 23.32 +0.7 Yerino 16 JUN
2012 22.95 -0.3 Zhukovskiy (Meteor) 17 JUN
2011 22.88 -0.1 Daegu (DS) 01 SEP
2010 22.80 +1.8 Moskva 29 JUN
2009 22.63 +0.7 Sochi 30 MAY
2008 22.58 +0.7 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 01 JUN
2007 22.75 +1.2 Tula (Arsenal Stadium) 19 JUN
2006 22.69 +1.0 Göteborg (Ullevi Stadium) 10 AUG
2005 22.53 -1.1 Helsinki (Olympic Stadium) 10 AUG
2004 23.06 -0.2 Tula (Arsenal Stadium) 06 JUN
2002 23.92 Kazan 27 JUN

400 Metres

Performance Place Date
2013 51.06 Moskva (Luzhniki) 24 JUL
2012 49.28 Cheboksary 05 JUL
2011 52.18 Yerino 30 JUL
2009 51.06 Cheboksary 23 JUL
2008 50.01 Beijing (National Stadium) 19 AUG
2003 51.94 Cheboksary 28 JUN
2002 53.26 Kazan 26 JUN

Progression - Indoor

60 Metres

Performance Place Date
2008 7.35 Samara 02 FEB
2007 7.24 Volgograd (Infizkult Manezh Stadium) 21 JAN
2004 7.29 Moskva 14 FEB
2002 7.39 Moskva 07 FEB

200 Metres

Performance Wind Place Date
2012 23.80 Volgograd (Infizkult Manezh Stadium) 21 JAN
2010 23.39 Moskva 14 FEB
2009 23.54 Liévin 10 FEB
2008 23.52 Volgograd (Infizkult Manezh Stadium) 19 JAN
2007 23.39 Volgograd (Infizkult Manezh Stadium) 10 FEB
2006 22.82 Moskva 24 JAN
2005 22.84 Moskva 22 JAN
2004 23.45 Moskva 18 FEB

300 Metres

Performance Place Date
2012 37.61 Ekaterinburg 07 JAN
2010 36.93 Liévin 05 MAR
2008 37.93 Moskva 12 JAN

400 Metres

Performance Place Date
2012 51.92 Moskva 23 FEB
2010 52.04 Moskva 13 FEB
2009 53.22 Pireás (P&F Stadium) 25 FEB
2008 51.58 Moskva 08 FEB
2006 51.26 Moskva 17 FEB

Honours - 100 Metres

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
10th IAAF World Cup in Athletics 5 11.39 +0.1 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 16 SEP 2006

Honours - 200 Metres

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 5sf3 23.26 -1.8 Daegu (DS) 01 SEP 2011
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 6sf3 23.24 +0.5 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 20 AUG 2009
6th IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final 7 23.37 +0.1 Stuttgart (Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion) 13 SEP 2008
10th IAAF World Cup in Athletics 4 22.96 -0.2 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 17 SEP 2006
3rd IAAF World Athletics Final 6 23.18 -0.6 Monaco (Stade Louis II) 10 SEP 2005
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 6 22.75 +0.2 Helsinki (Olympic Stadium) 12 AUG 2005
IAAF/Coca Cola World Junior Championships 5sf1 24.12 +0.4 Kingston (NS), JAM 19 JUL 2002

Honours - 400 Metres

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXX Olympic Games 4sf1 51.66 London (Olympic Stadium) 04 AUG 2012
The XXIX Olympic Games 4 50.01 Beijing (National Stadium) 19 AUG 2008

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Updated 19 July 2012

Yuliya GUSHCHINA, Russia (100/200/400m)

Born: 4 March 1983, Novocherkassk, Rostov region

Lives: Moscow region

174 cm/ 63 kg

Coach: Valentin Maslakov

At 29 years of age, Gushchina already has a long profile. Olympic champion 2008 in 4x100m relay and silver medallist in 4x400m, twice World Indoor champion, medallist at the European champs… This all was achieved thanks to Yuliya’s unusual talent – she is one of the few top athletes who can combine all three flat sprints distances. In different times of her career Gushchina preferred 100, 200 or 400m. Now she comes to the London Olympics as the current World N.3 on 400m.

Yuliya comes from the small Russian town Volgodonsk (she was born in Novocherkassk which is nearby), which is known mainly because of the terrorist attack back in 1999. By this time Gushchina had already left for the regional capital, Rostov-na-Donu.

“My parents in Soviet times used to work at the state company,” Gushchina says. “But in the early 1990-s they were fired, the same as many people in the country. So they had to start their own small private business. Curiously my family had nothing to do with sports. My parents got interested in athletics only after I started to compete.”

Gushchina started athletics at 12, when she got noticed at school competition by local coach Vladimir Drotik. Yuliya was tall and thin, and was visibly faster than any of her fellow girls. Under Drotik, Gushchina progressed fast. At 16 she already moved away from her parents and the coach to the best training centre in the region.

“I had to be responsible, to learn how to take care of myself,” Gushchina recalls that times. “I lived alone in the dorm, together with other girls. That was the time when I met Tonya Krivoshapka, who later became my good friend. I always knew that Tonya was very talented, but she had a hard period and showed her best results a little bit later than I did. Nevertheless, it had nothing to do with our friendship. We can talk hours without a single word about athletics.”

Still in Rostov-na-Donu, Gushchina qualified on 200m to the World Junior Champs 2002, in Kingston, where she was 5th in the semi-final. At the time she combined 200 and 400m, paying less attention to 100m.

“It was long before Usain Bolt set his records, and at the time I thought I was too tall for short sprint,” Gushchina smiled. “I believed a sprinter should be short and muscular. So I tried to focus on 200 m, and ran also 400 m for endurance training.”

One of the things that will always make Yuliya remember her time in Rostov-na-Donu will be a tattoo on her left shoulder. “It is a butterfly. I like them a lot, I have also gold ones – ear rings and pendants. I think butterfly symbolises the sense of freedom, of enjoying life. The tattoo is not temporary, it is forever. To be honest, I am thinking of making another one on my stomach, but I am not sure.”

In 2004 Gushchina met coach Valentin Maslakov, who actually changed her life. Now the head coach of the Russian national team, at the time Maslakov was coaching only sprinters. Gushchina again changed her place to live and moved to a different dorm in Podolsk.

“I had been dreaming about my own flat for years, but I was way too young and inexperienced to be able to actually buy it,” Gushchina said. “But before the Olympics 2008, local authorities in Moscow region offered me a very big discount for a flat in a new house. So finally I had my own place to stay… It was incredible – before sometimes I had no place to leave my bags between the flights to competitions.”

“At the time when I joined them, Maslakov had enough stars in his group,” Gushchina recalls. “My favourite was Galina Malchugina, who already stopped competing several years before me. She specialised on my favourite distance, 200 m, and her running style was so beautiful. I could just sit and watch her running like a beautiful picture. Maslakov back then said: “Yuliya, don’t be shy, you can be better than her.” Curiously, some four years later, Gushchina became Olympic champion in the relay together with Malchugina’s daughter, Yuliya Chermoshanskaya.

In her first years with Maslakov, Gushchina focused primarily on 200m. She was 6th at the World Championships 2005, in Helsinki, and a year later became the silver medallist of the European Championships 2006 in Göteborg. This medal is up to date her only individual podium at the World or European champs.

“This is my pain,” Gushchina comments. “I have plenty of medals at home, but most of them are for the relays. I want to prove that I am good not only on the team but individually, but… It is hard for me to run against athletes from the USA or Jamaica. Maybe it is the goal of my whole career – to win something against them.”

As the time was getting to the Olympics 2008, in Beijing, Gushchina’s coach started to talk about switching to 400m. It seemed evident that on 200m and in the 4x100m relay Yuliya could hardly hope to medal. On the opposite, 4x400m relay was the real medal chance – maybe not for the gold, but for silver or bronze for sure.

“With my head I realised that coach was right,” Gushchina says. “But emotionally I was afraid of running 400m. There was so much pain on this distance. I had to train much more than before, and I was not used to long endurance runs. Of course I did 400m in juniors, but it was on a different level. When we were getting ready to the Olympic season, I really was in pain most of the time. Sometimes I hated my body that could not cope with these volumes.”

The hard work actually paid off. At the Olympic trials Yuliya was 4th on 200m and sensationally won 400m. This meant she qualified to Beijing in two relays!

“I could not believe how I won 400m, it was a huge surprise,” Gushchina smiled. “I thought 50.12 was way too slow for a national champion. Maybe other girls were nervous, and I did not feel any burden of pressure and could show my best.”

The newly crowned national champion, in Beijing Gushchina again proved that she was the best in Russia. She finished 4th in the Olympic 400m final in 50.01, just 0.08 short for the bronze. “I was really happy, it was beyond my expectation,” Gushchina said after the individual final. “To be honest, my goal for the final was not to be the last one. Looking at the PBs, other girls seemed much stronger than me. So I decided to take the risk – and ran first 300 m faster than I usually do. I hoped that on the last 100m I would be able to speed up following my competitors. These last 100m were really the hardest in my life.”   

Gushchina appeared to be one of the busiest athletes at the Olympics. After the individual final, she ran the final of 4x100m relay, and the following day 4x400m. And in the short relay together with Chermoshanskaya, Polyakova and Fedoriva, Gushchina became one of the sensations.

It was an amazing coincidence. First the Americans got disqualified in the heats. And then, in the final, the Jamaicans also lost the baton and Russian Yuliya Chermoshanskaya sprinted to the finish line not believing that she was going to be the champion.

“This was the race of my life,” said later Gushchina who ran the third stage. “I cry every time I see the video, I just can’t stop the tears. I think after that final I became a different person. More deep, more independent, maybe. It has nothing to do with star sickness. I know of course that we were lucky, and I admit that any of the Jamaicans is generally faster than any girl of our team. But this is the magic of the relay – we had worked a lot on passing the baton, it was our main bet – and we won.  While the Jamaicans and the Americans counted on speed and lost.”

With the Olympic gold around her neck, Gushchina ran in Beijing also the first leg in the 4x400m. She perfectly ran her lap among the leaders, but later Anastasiya Kapachinskaya lost at the finish line to American Sanya Richards. Gushchina was the first who came up to Kapachinskaya after the finish and reassured her that everything was alright.

“I would never blame Nastya,” Yuliya said. “Richards is a great athlete. It is not shameful and quite understandable to lose to her. It is only our fault that the gap between us and the Americans was not big enough before Richards’ and Kapachinskaya’s stage.”

After Beijing, Gushchina’s life changed dramatically. She got plenty of invitations to different talk shows, tried herself as a top model, enjoyed her new car presented personally by the Russian president… Quite logically her sports results started to fade. In 2009 she qualified to the World Championships only on 200m and was eliminated in the semi-final. In April 2010, at the training camp in Portugal, Gushchina injured her thigh. She decided to postpone the surgery till autumn, but all she could achieve in the outdoor season was the 4th place in the 4x100m relay at the European Championships in Barcelona.

In September 2010 Gushchina married her long-time partner and former international 400m runner Ivan Buzolin, who is now the manager of the Russian team. “Our wedding was in style of the 1960’s,” Yuliya smiled. “Ivan even had a red scarf. I really like the music of the 1960’s and I wanted something unusual – not just ordinary white dress and black suit like everybody has.”

A month after her marriage Gushchina had surgery on her thigh in Moscow. “My husband was much more nervous than me,” Yuliya said. “I even did not tell him the exact date of the surgery but he somehow felt it and came to visit me in hospital several hours after I was out of the operating room.”

The rehabilitation went well, but to be on the safe side Gushchina decided in the pre-Olympic 2011 season to focus on sprints – 100 and 200m. This meant that she did put up with the fact that there was no chance to win an individual medal at the World Championships in Daegu.

But with the speed work done in 2011, Gushchina worked on her endurance in winter and already in 2012 seemed to be a much stronger 400m runner than ever. She was second at the Russian trials with the amazing PB 49.28, which is also the third result in the world top-lists.

“When I looked at the screen after the finish line I could not believe my eyes,” Yuliya comments. “I was not even sure that I was theoretically able to run that fast! This all is again thanks to my friend Tonya Krivoshapka. She started her race so fast that I tried to catch the gap and keep up with her pace.”

At the Olympics, in London, Gushchina is again likely to run in both relays, and also 400m. Although she is officially not qualified for 4x100m, there is no doubt that if Yuliya proves her good shape at 400m, coach Maslakov would be eager to place her on the team. During the last pre-Olympic training camp in Moscow Gushchina seemed fully concentrated. And Maslakov joked: “Yuliya does not eat enough, I am so angry! She needs power to run all her races, but I cannot make her eat dinner properly.”

Personal Bests

100 m: 11.13 (2006)

200 m: 22.53 (2005)

400 m: 49.28 (2012)

Yearly Progression

100/200/400 m: 2002: -/23.92/53.26; 2003: -/23.58/51.94; 2004: 11.65/23.06/-; 2005: 11.50/22.53/53.81i; 2006: 11.13/22.53/51.26i; 2007: 11.36/22.75/-; 2008: 11.33/22.58/50.01; 2009: -/22.63/51.06; 2010: 11.46/22.80/52.04i; 2011: 11.30/22.88/52.18; 2012: -/22.95/49.28.

Career Highlights

2002   (200)    1st   Russian Junior Championships (Kazan)   23.92

2002   (400)  3rd     Russian Junior Championships (Kazan)    53.26

2002  (200)    sf  World Junior Championships (Kingston)  24.12

2003   (200)  1st    Russian U23 Championships (Cheboksary) 23.58

2003   (400)   2nd  Russian U23 Championships (Cheboksary)  51.94

2003   (200)     5th    European U23 Championships (Bydgoszcz)  23.59

2004     (200)   5th   Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow)   23.65

2004  (4x400) 1st    European Cup (Bydgoszcz)   3:26.04

2005   (200)    2nd  Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow)   23.46

2005   (200)   1st    Russian U23 Championships (Tula)   22.78

2005   (4x100)   1st  European Cup (Florence)   42.73

2005  (4x400)  1st    European Cup (Florence)   3:23.56

2005   (200)    1st   Russian Championships (Tula)    22.62

2005  (200)    6th  World Championships (Helsinki)  22.75

2005   (200)    6th   World Athletics Final (Monte Carlo)  23.18 

2006   (400)   6th   Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow) 52.07

2006   (200)   1st   European Champions Clubs Cup (Valencia)    23.09           

2006  (4x100)   1st  European Champions Clubs Cup (Valencia)    44.04           

2006   (100)  1st  European Cup (Malaga)    11.13           

2006   (4x100)  1st  European Cup (Malaga)  43.71           

2006  (100)    2nd   Russian Championships (Tula)    11.35           

2006 (100)  5th  European Championships (Göteborg)  11.31           

2006   (200)    2nd   European Championships (Göteborg)  22.93           

2006    (4x100)   1st   European Championships (Göteborg)  42.71           

2006  (100)   5th   World Cup (Athens)   11.39           

2006  (200)  4th  World Cup (Athens)   22.96           

2006   (4x100)  2nd   World Cup (Athens)  42.36           

2007   (200)  1st  Russian Indoor Championships (Volgograd)  23.39

2007  (60)   h    European Indoor Championships (Birmingham)  7.31

2007 (4x100)  1st    European Cup (Munich)  42.78

2007   (100)  5th   Russian Championships (Tula)   11.38

2007  (200)   3rd   Russian Championships (Tula)   22.97

2008  (400)    3rd    Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow)  51.73

2008   (4x400)    1st   World Indoor Championships (Valencia)   3:28.17

2008  (200)  1st    European Champions Clubs Cup (Vila Real)   23.04

2008  (4x100)  1st   European Champions Clubs Cup (Vila Real)    44.10

2008 (4x100)   1st    European Cup (Annecy)    42.80

2008     (4x400)    1st    European Cup (Annecy)      3:23.77

2008  (200)   4th  Russian Championships (Kazan)  23.05

2008 (400)  1st  Russian Championships (Kazan) 50.12

2008 (400)   4th   Olympic Games (Beijing)   50.01

2008    (4x100)      1st     Olympic Games (Beijing)  42.31

2008   (4x400)   2nd    Olympic Games (Beijing)  3:18.82

2008    (200) 7th World Athletics Final (Stuttgart)     23.37

2009     (200) 1st    Russian Team Championships (Sochi) 22.63

2009 (400)   1st   Russian Team Championships (Sochi)   51.11

2009   (200)   1st   European Team Championships (Leiria) 23.01

2009   (4x100)  1st  European Team Championships (Leiria)   43.35

2009   (200)  1st  Russian Championships (Cheboksary)   22.71

2009  (400)     7th   Russian Championships (Cheboksary) 51.12

2009  (200)    sf   World Championships (Berlin)  23.24

2009 (4x100)  4th  World Championships (Berlin)   43.00

2010   (400)     6th Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow)  53.11

2010  (4x100)  1st   European Team Championships (Bergen)   42.98

2010  (200) 5th Russian Championships (Saransk)  22.93 

2010  (4x100) 4th European Championships (Barcelona) 42.91

2011  (4x100) 2nd European Team Championships (Stockholm) 43.12

2011  (100)  1st   Russian Championships (Cheboksary) 11.38

2011 (200)  sf  World Championships (Daegu) 23.26

2011 (4x100) 6th World Championships (Daegu) 42.93

2012   (400)  2nd     Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow)   51.92

2012      (4x400)   3rd   World Indoor Championships (Istanbul)3:29.55

2012    (400)1st   Russian Team Championships (Sochi)  50.26

2012   (400)  2nd Russian Championships (Cheboksary)  49.28

Prepared by Natalia Maryanchik for IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2012.

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