Melnick, Faina : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Melnick, Faina

track and field

Country Represented:
Soviet Union

Years Competed:
1972, 1976

Medals Received:

Olympic Info:
One of the world's best female discus throwers in the 1970s, Melnick competed in two Olympiads for the Soviet Union. At the 1972 Munich Games, she had the second best throw in the qualifying trials and then won the gold medal by finishing first in the finals. She broke her own world record with her final throw (66.62-meters -- 218'8"), and broke the Olympic record in each of her final three tosses.

Melnick returned to the Olympics four years later at the Montreal Games, but did not successfully defend her Olympic title. She finished second in the qualifying round of the discus competition with a toss of 63.77-meters (209'2"), and then finished fourth in the final with a distance of 66.37-meters (217'10").

Career Highlights:
Melnick, one of the most dominant track and field athletes of the 1970s, held the No. 1 ranking in women's discus from 1971-1977, the third longest world's No. 1 ranking streak in women's track and field history. At the 1971 European Championships, her international debut, she set a world record in the discus throw (64.22 meters). Melnick was the first woman to break the 70-meter mark (in 1976), and in 1977, she won the first World Cup discus competition. A member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame,.Melnick is currently a teacher in Moscow.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. June 9, 1945

Bakota, Ukraine

Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.

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Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)
Great Jews in Sports by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)
New York Times, July 19-July 30, 1976