The Russian Granny Who Became World Knife-Throwing Champion

Galina Chuvina, a retired woman from the small Russian town of Sasovo, took up knife throwing as a hobby and ended up becoming an eight time national champion, European champion and even world champion.

Chuvina was 56 years old when she discovered knife throwing, back in 2007. The pensioner had landed a simple job in the coat check section of the local pool, taking people’s clothes and handing out numbers. One day, two young people came by to discuss the possibility of opening a knife throwing club on the premises, and Galina became one of the first people to enroll for knife throwing training. Just a month and a half into her training, the pensioner learned that her home town would soon host a knife throwing competition with around 50 participants, including special forces soldiers, professional knife throwers, as well as amateurs like her. She signed up, and shocked the audience by wining first place.

The amateur knife thrower’s victory surprised a lot of people, but there were also those who simply called it beginner’s luck. The pensioner silenced the latter at the 2007 National Knife Throwing Championship, in Moscow, where she again claimed a sensational victory, beating the best knife throwers in the country. Her very first prize had been a brand new meat-grinder, but for her win at the nationals, the pensioner received a mobile phone and an air mattress. This only motivated her to enroll in more competitions.

In 2008, Galina competed in the World Knife Throwing Championship in Kaliningrad, against 36 of the world’s best knife-throwers. Chuvina had only been training for a year, and she was the only retiree among the participants, but she won once again. “Baba Galya” as the public called her, had become the world’s number one knife thrower.

In 2013, Galina Chuvina went on to win the European Knife and Axe Throwing Championship, adding another significant feather to her cap. Throughout her amazing career, she claimed another 3 national championships, as well as 50 medals and titles. In most countries, she would have been considered a national treasure, but not in Russia, apparently.


In her heyday, Chuvina got a lot of attention from the press, giving interviews and making appearances on television shows, but she never really received any significant support from anyone, including the authorities. As age began to take its toll, she stopped going to competitions, mostly because she couldn’t afford to travel, and retreated to her home town of Sasovo.

Galina didn’t go back to her old job at the local pool, and despite getting offers from parents to teach their kids, these offers never materialized. Today, at age 68, she lives in a crumbling house and makes ends meet on a monthly pension of 17,000 rubles ($220). A sad end to an illustrious career…