Basketball hall of fame inducts Semjonova

Uljana Semjonova of Latvia, who was a star women’s basketball player for the Soviet Union, is one of 20 players, coaches and referees inducted Sept. 12 into the International Basketball Federation’s Hall of Fame.

Semjonova, born in 1952 in Medumi near Daugavpils, had a career that spanned more than two decades. She played from 1967-1987 with TTT Rīga before joining Spain’s Tintoretto team from 1987-1988 and then France’s Valenciennes Orchies from 1988-1989. She also helped the Soviet women’s basketball team twice win the Olympic gold medal, in 1976 in Montreal and in 1980 in Moscow.

Described by the basketball federation as the winningest player in the history of women’s basketball, the 2.13-meter, left-handed Semjonova played center.

From 1970-1985, she was 12 times named Latvia’s most popular athlete, according to the Geneva-based basketball federation.

Since 1991, Semjonova has headed the Latvian Olympian Social Foundation (Latvijas Olimpiešu sociālais fonds), an organization that supports sports veterans.

Semjonova was unable to attend the induction ceremony held in Madrid, Spain.

This is the second basketball hall of fame in which Semjonova has been enshrined. In 1993, she was added to the Basketball Hall of Fame based in Springfield, Mass., the first non-U.S. woman granted the honor.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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