Oleg Protopopov, two-time Olympic figure skating gold medalist, dies at 91
Oleg Protopopov, who with wife Ludmila Belousova won the first two Olympic pairs’ figure skating titles of the Soviet dynasty, died at age 91, according to Russia’s figure skating federation.
Protopopov and Belousova got married in 1957, then in 1964 and 1968 won the first two of 12 consecutive Olympic pairs’ titles for Soviet or Russian figure skaters.
Belousova died in 2017 at age 81.
The pair also won four consecutive world titles from 1965 through 1968.
They made the world podium eight consecutive years, a record for any discipline since World War II (not counting pairs’ skaters or ice dancers who had multiple partners during a streak).
They were eased out of competition by Soviet skating authorities after finishing behind emerging pair Irina Rodnina and Aleksey Ulanov in the late 1960s, according to the IOC.
They reportedly defected to Switzerland in 1979, spent summers in Lake Placid, New York, and skated in non-competitive shows in the U.S.
In a video interview with The Skating Lesson published in 2015, Belousova said she and Protopopov still skated on a daily basis.