Poland’s three-time Olympic gold medallist Irena Szewinska, one of the legends among the first group of seven World Athletics Heritage Plaques announced in November 2018, was honoured last night (19 August). Her plaque, which specifically commemorates the 400m world record (49.75) which Szewinska set in Bydgoszcz on 22 June 1976, was appropriately unveiled before start of the Szewinska Memorial meeting in the northern Polish city.
The ceremony, which took place on the track of the Zawiszy Zdzisława stadium, was attended by Janusz Szewinski, the husband of the late Irena, and their two sons Andrzej and Jaroslaw.
Also taking part in the ceremony were Rafal Bruski, Mayor of Bydgoszcz, Piotr Dlugosielski, Head of International Relations of the Polish Athletic Association, and Krzysztof Wolsztynski, the Meeting Director of the Szewinska Memorial.
A video message from World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, was played on the stadium’s screen. Coe reflected on many of Szewinska's feats, noting that she was the first woman to break 50 seconds for 400m and is the only athlete in history, male or female, to have set world records at 100m, 200m and 400m.
The plaque will be permanently on display in the stadium.
Irena Szewinska (POL)
1964, 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games - 3 gold medals, 2 silver and 2 bronze
10 ratified world records
Born: Saint Petersburg, Russia, 24 May 1946
Died: Warsaw, Poland, 29 June 2018
Chris Turner for World Athletics Heritage