Irena Szydłowska was born in Lviv in 1928. Her father, Stanisław, was a well known football referee and sport activist.
She won her first sport competition in 1945. It was a swimming contest. A year later Irena Szydłowska won a medal of Polish Championships in swimming (100 m backstroke style).
However she didn’t continue her swimming career. Irena Szydlowska started to passionate about gliding and get glider pilot papers. In the same time she started to practice rowing.
It seems that Miss Szydłowska couldn’t find “her” sport discipline. In 1950 she chose… a volleyball.
She represented RKS Budowlani Warszawa till 1956 playing in the first ligue team. Than Irena Szydłowska started her studies in a State Technical School and all her time devoted to studying. After receiving a diploma and being 31 years old she realised an internal need of practicing sport.
The archery was that what she chose.
She represented Tramwajowy Klub Sportowy “Syrena” Warsaw first and Mr. Feliks Żbikowski was her first coach – it was in 1959. Till 1963 Irena Szydłowska won a gold medal of Polish Champs, placed 13th on World Champs in Helsinki and won a title of French International Champion.
After 1964 Irena Szydłowska represented Robotniczy Klub Sportowy “Marymont” Warsaw.
She become one of the best Polish archers within a year after starting practising schooting. Irena Szydłowska broke national records: the first one was 618 pts at 2x30m (1963). Generally, she made 38 national records during her career!
As an athlete of RKS “Marymont” she won a gold medal in a team competition at World Champs in 1967 as well as individual gold medal at 2×70 m and individual bronze medal! Irena Szydłowska established her first world record: 6686 pts in team competition. She was a first Pole to brake a barrier of 1100 pts! From 1964 to 1967 Miss Szydłowska established 12 national records and was a first Pole to brake 2200 pts in a Double FITA Round (2210 pts), won twice gold medal of Polish Champs and twice a silver medal. She also won a title of Czechoslovakian International Champion.
The archery division of Klub Sportowy “Drukarz” was created in 1968 and Miss Szydłowska become its first athlete.
In 1971 Irena Szydłowska broke her own world record by shooting 1229 pts in Moscow. It made her the strongest candidate to the Olympic gold medal. However a shoulder injury arose and it was almost sure that that would be the end of her archery career. Due to a very dangerous and innovative surgery and a very strong will of the athlete Miss Szydłowska come back to archery. But she didn’t represent a form from the previous season: a break was too long. She went to Munich without a trust in a success.
Irena Szydłowska won the first day of shooting and increased the advantage over other athletes after the second day of the Olympic conquest.Than she started to shoot nervously, fell onto 4th position. But the concentration was back last day and Miss Szydłowska won a silver medal!
From 1975 to 1977 Irena Szydłowska represented Spółdzielczy Klub Sportowy „Społem” w Łódź. She started at 1976 Olympics and placed 17th.
She come back to “Drukarz” in 1977. She started and coached, become an activist and the club vice-president.
Irena Szydłowska died after short but hard disease in 1983.
Please, find below photos from a private Ms. Szydłowska’s archive given us by her brother, Mr. Ryszard Szydłowski: