Days after the Rio Olympics ended, it has been reported that a legendary Olympian passed away.
The New York Times reported that a champion discus thrower Nina Ponomareva, who earned the Soviet Union its first Olympic gold medal when she competed in the 1952 Helsinki Games, died on Friday in Moscow. She was 87 years-old.
On top of her gold in the 1952 Olympics, Ponomareva earned a bronze at the 1956 games in Australia and another gold at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
Ponomareva was also known for setting off a diplomatic crisis in 1956 when she allegedly shoplifted five hats from a London store. The case made international headlines when Ponomareva went on the run from police, eventually surrendering to them a month later and paying a small fine.
The Olympic athlete and the Soviet Union swore that she had not stolen the hats.
“She has lots of money,” an official with the Soviet Embassy told reporters at the time. “She could buy 100 hats.”
The case was so well known that when Ponomareva arrived in Australia for the 1956 Olympics, spectators shouted, “Watch your hats, girls, here comes Nina.”
Ponomareva, however, always stuck to her story that she never stole the hats.
“I did not steal the hats,” she told reporters. “It was all a lie, a big lie.”
Rest in peace, Nina Ponomareva!