Irena Szewińska was born on 24 May 1946 in Leningrad, and a year later her parentsmoved to Warsaw. She started practising athletics in the autumn of 1960, at the age of 14, in a group of students from the Primary School No. 37 in Warsaw group of students from Primary School No. 37 in Warsaw, whose coach was a former javelin Jan Kopyto, a former javelin thrower and Melbourne Olympic Games finalist. Since the beginning of her career she has competed in the colors of the Polonia in Warsaw. Initially she competed in athletics quadrilles. In 1962 she won her first medals at the Polish Youth Championships in Łódź.
Her first international successes came in 1964 - during the European Junior Olympics held in Warsaw (later Junior European (later Junior European Championships) in Warsaw, she won three gold medals by winning the 200 m run. She won three gold medals by winning the 200 m run, the long jump and, together with her friends, the 4x100 m dash. A month later at the A month later at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, she won silver medals in the long jump and the 200 m run, and together with Teresa Ciepły, Halina Górecka and Ewa Kłobukowska, by improving the world record (time 43.69) she won gold in the sprint relay. In 1966 in Budapest she won four gold medals. In 1966 in Budapest she won four (including three gold) European Championship rings. In 1968 in Mexico during the Olympic Games. In 1968 in Mexico, during the Olympic Games, she won the 200 m race improving the world record with 22.58 and won bronze in the 100 m race. Distance of 100 m. During the Olympic Games in Munich she won the bronze medal in the 200 m run.
200 m. Since the autumn of 1973 she started to run in the 400 m race. At the Olympic Games in Montreal Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976 she won the gold medal in the 400 m race, setting a new world record with the time 49.29. a new world record.
After ending her sports career in 1980, she sat on the Board of the Polish Athletics Association. In 1984 she was elected to the Women's Committee of the IAAF, and in 1995 to the Council of European Athletics. European Athletics Council in 1995. She was a vice president of the Polish Olympic Committee, and since 1998 also a member of the International Olympic Committee. She passed away on June 29, 2018 after a long battle with cancer.