Svetlana Pankratova holds the Guinness World Record for Longest Female Legs, and now the former college basketball star is putting them to good use as an assistant coach at George Mason High School in Virginia.
Measuring 4 feet 4 inches long, Pankratova's legs make up most of her 6-foot-5 frame. Growing up in Volograd, Russia, Pankratova, 41, never noticed how long her legs really were.
"I never thought about it when I was growing up," Pankratova told her local paper, the Falls Church News-Press
. "I just never paid attention to my legs."
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She went through high school in Russia, competed with the swim team, and started out playing college basketball before she was recruited by Virginia Commonwealth University.
At VCU, Pankratova broke the school records for most blocked shots in a career (176) and the most blocked shots in a single season (75), titles she still holds today. She graduated in 1997 and played professionally for a few years, traveling the world from Portugal to Israel to Spain.
It wasn’t until 2002 when a friend showed her an article about a British woman who claimed she had the world's longest legs for a woman that Pankratova contacted Guinness and kicked off the lengthy process of validating her measurements. It took six years, but she was finally crowned a Guinness World Record holder for Longest Female Legs in 2008.
"It's not like I was always on top of it," Pankratova said of the process. "I had other things to do and just kind of let it go."
Now, Pankratova mentors young basketball players as an assistant coach at George Mason High, a gig she got during the 2010-2011 season.
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"I'm grateful for the opportunity for me to work with them," she told the News-Press. "Because I stopped playing basketball … so it was great to get back to basketball and I really do enjoy it and it brings all the nice memories back and I just enjoy giving them what I know to help them any way I can."
Though she holds the world's longest legs record, Pankratova is not the tallest woman. That title goes to China's Yao Defen who measured 7 feet 7 inches, though she died in November.
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