The Washington Post

George Mason High assistant coach Svetlana Pankratova has world’s longest legs

In 2008, Svetlana Pankratova of Falls Church posed in London with He Pingping from China, to promote their appearances in the Guinness Book of World Records. Pankratova has the longest women’s legs and He was the world’s shortest man. (SANG TAN/AP)

Pankratova, 41, is not new to Virginia, having played three years at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she still holds the women’s records for blocked shots in a season and in a career. But Drew Costly reported in the Falls Church News-Press the other day that Pankratova is now married to Falls Church resident Jack Gosnell and she is an assistant coach for the powerhouse George Mason High girls’ basketball team. The Mustangs, which had won three of the last four state championships in Virginia A-Division 2, made it to the final four again this season, but were knocked out in the semifinals Friday in Richmond.

The Guinness Book folks did a round of publicity before their 2009 edition was published, including making Pankratova available for press interviews and photos (see above) with the world’s shortest man, He Pingping of China. He was two feet five inches tall, and has since passed away. A video on the Guinness Book site shows Pankratova being measured in 2003, so it’s not clear whether Brittney Griner, the 6’8” Baylor women’s hoops star, has been notified. Or where the former Washington Bullet Gheorghe Muresan, at 7’7,”might rate in a men’s competition.

Pankratova told the News-Press that after a friend raised the idea that she might have the longest legs, it took six years of documentation and work with the Guinness folks to achieve the record. But as she told numerous interviewers, including the AP in the video below, she’s proud to have the record and hopes no one else breaks it.

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.


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