Sports In Rus­sia

Sport in Russia

Com­bin­ing the total medals of Soviet Union and Rus­sia, the coun­try is sec­ond among all nations by num­ber of gold medals both at the Sum­mer Olympics and at the Win­ter Olympics. Soviet and later Russ­ian ath­letes have always been in the top three for the num­ber of gold medals col­lected at the Sum­mer Olympics. Soviet gym­nasts, track-​and-​field ath­letes, weight lifters, wrestlers, box­ers, fencers, shoot­ers, cross coun­try skiers, biath­letes, speed skaters and fig­ure skaters were con­sis­tently among the best in the world, along with Soviet bas­ket­ball, hand­ball, vol­ley­ball and ice hockey play­ers. The 1980 Sum­mer Olympics were held in Moscow while the 2014 Win­ter Olympics will be hosted in Sochi.

Although ice hockey was only intro­duced dur­ing the Soviet era, the national team man­aged to win gold at almost all the Olympics and World Cham­pi­onships they con­tested. Russ­ian play­ers Valery Khar­lamov, Sergey Makarov, Vyach­eslav Feti­sov and Vladislav Tre­tiak hold four of six posi­tions in the IIHF Team of the Cen­tury. Recently Rus­sia won the 2008, 2009 and the 2012 IIHF World Cham­pi­onships, over­tak­ing Canada as the world’s top ranked ice hockey team. Rus­sia totally dom­i­nated the 2012 tour­na­ment, win­ning all of its ten matches — the first time any team had done so since the Soviet Union in 1989.[263] The Kon­ti­nen­tal Hockey League (KHL) was founded in 2008 as a suc­ces­sor to the Russ­ian Super­league. It is seen as a rival to the National Hockey League (NHL) and is ranked the top hockey league in Europe as of 2009. Bandy, also known as Russ­ian hockey, is another tra­di­tion­ally pop­u­lar ice sport. The Soviet Union won all the Bandy World Cham­pi­onships between 195779.

Dmitry Medvedev with Rus­sia men’s national ice hockey team
Along with ice hockey and bas­ket­ball, asso­ci­a­tion foot­ball is one of the most pop­u­lar sports in mod­ern Rus­sia. The Soviet national team became the first ever Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons by win­ning Euro 1960. In recent years, Russ­ian foot­ball, which down­graded in 1990s, has expe­ri­enced a revival. Russ­ian clubs CSKA Moscow and Zenit St Peters­burg won the UEFA Cup in 2005 and 2008 respec­tively. The Russ­ian national foot­ball team reached the semi-​finals of Euro 2008, los­ing only to the even­tual cham­pi­ons Spain. Rus­sia will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with 14 host cities located in the Euro­pean part of the coun­try and on the Urals. In 2007, the Russ­ian national bas­ket­ball team also won the Euro­pean Bas­ket­ball Cham­pi­onship. Russ­ian bas­ket­ball club PBC CSKA Moscow is one of the top teams in Europe, win­ning the Euroleague in 2006 and 2008.

Lar­isa Latyn­ina, who cur­rently holds a record for most Olympic medals won per per­son and most gold Olympic medals won by a woman, estab­lished the USSR as the dom­i­nant force in gym­nas­tics for many years to come. Today, Rus­sia is lead­ing in rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics with Alina Kabayeva, Irina Tschaschina and Yev­geniya Kanayeva. Russ­ian syn­chro­nized swim­ming is the best in the world, with almost all gold medals at Olympics and World Cham­pi­onships hav­ing been swept by Rus­sians in recent decades. Fig­ure skat­ing is another pop­u­lar sport in Rus­sia, espe­cially pair skat­ing and ice danc­ing. At every Win­ter Olympics from 1964 until 2006 a Soviet or Russ­ian pair has won gold. Since the end of the Soviet era, ten­nis has grown in pop­u­lar­ity and Rus­sia has pro­duced a num­ber of famous play­ers, includ­ing Maria Shara­pova, the world’s high­est paid female ath­lete. In mar­tial arts, Rus­sia pro­duced the sport Sambo and many renown fight­ers, like Fedor Emelia­nenko. Chess is a widely pop­u­lar pas­time in Rus­sia; from 1927, Russ­ian grand­mas­ters have held the world chess cham­pi­onship almost continuously.

For­mula One is also becom­ing increas­ingly pop­u­lar in Rus­sia. Renault’s Vitaly Petrov is the only Russ­ian For­mula One dri­ver to date. There have only ever been two Russ­ian Grands Prix (in 1913 and 1914), but it is set to return for 2014, in a six-​year deal.

For more infor­ma­tion about sport in Rus­sia, visit Wikipedia.