03/11/2013 05:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Svetlana Pankratova, Woman With The World's Longest Legs, Has A Surprise Neighbor In Northern Virginia


Northern Virginia is, it increasingly appears, rich in genetically-gifted world record-holders.

Arlingtonian Annie Hawkins-Turner -- her stage name is Norma Stitz -- has the Guinness Book of World Records' record for world's largest natural breasts.

A few miles away lives the woman with the world's longest legs.

As the Washington Post noted on Monday, the Guinness record-holder for women's longest legs is a Falls Church basketball coach.

Svetlana Pankratova's legs are, according to Guinness, almost 4 feet, 4 inches long. (At 6 feet, 5 inches tall, she's not the world's tallest woman, however; the woman certified as Guinness' tallest living woman, 7-feet-7-inch tall Yao Defen, died in November.)

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Svetlana Pankratova

In her Guinness photo, Pankratova's shown sitting on the steps of the National Gallery of Art in London, wearing a blue mini-dress and heels. In other photos from that same shoot, the world's smallest man -- He Pingping, who died in 2010 -- is standing beneath her, sometimes looking up her skirt.

Last week, Pankratova talked with the Falls Church News-Register about life as the longest-legged woman, and how she came to Virginia from Russia, where she was born:

After she graduated high school, Pankratova played college basketball for a year in Russia before being recruited by Virginia Commonwealth University. During this time, she met her now husband, Jack Gosnell, who was working in St. Petersburg as the U.S. General Counsel. She said the transition to a new country was difficult at first, and she experienced a culture shock for the first couple of months she was in the U.S. But the hardest part was getting used to the rigorous training her new team did in preparation for the basketball season.

“It was more running in practices, it was more physical,” Pankratova said. “So it took me a little time to adjust to that. But after that I think it was fine.”

The whole of Virginia, not just the parts close to D.C., can lay claim to a host of impressive world records. Notable among them: most cloned pigs born in one litter, largest ship sunk intentionally and largest gathering of people dressed as vampires.

Here's a 2008 video of Panktrova with the world's smallest man, He Pingping.