Sport in Russia

Sport in Russia

Russia, is a keen sporting country, successful at a number of sports and continuously finishing in the top rankings at the Olympic games. During the Soviet era the team placed first in the total number of medals won at 14 of its 18 appearances; with these performances, the USSR was the dominant Olympic power of its era. Since the Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952 and continuing today, the Soviet and later Russian athletes never went below third place in the world (never below 2nd until the most recent Olympics), in number and gold medals collected at the Summer Olympics.

Among the most played sports are football, ice hockey. [ [ Russian Sport Activities]] and basketball.

Other sports widely played in Russia include weightlifting, gymnastics, boxing, wrestling, martial arts, volleyball, rugby union and skiing.


:"See main:" Football in Russia


:"See main:" Russia at the Olympics

During the Soviet era the team placed first in the total number of medals won at 14 of its 18 appearances; [ [ Summer Olympics Through The Years] . Info] with these performances, the USSR was the dominant Olympic power of its era. [ [ The main game in a dragon's lair] Sydney Morning Herald] Since the Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952 and continuing today, the Soviet and later Russian athletes never went below third place in the world, in number and gold medals collected at the Summer Olympics. The 1980 Summer Olympic Games were held in Moscow while the 2014 Winter Olympics will be hosted by Sochi.


As the Soviet Union, Russia was traditionally very strong in basketball, winning various Olympic tournaments, World Championships and Eurobasket. At the moment they have various players in the NBA, notably Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, and are considered as a worldwide basketball force. In 2007, Russia defeated world champions Spain to win Eurobasket 2007. Russian basketball clubs such as PBC CSKA Moscow (2006 and 2008 Euroleague Champions)have also had great success in European competitions such as the Euroleague and the ULEB Cup.

Ice hockey

Russia's ice hockey team has a long history of traditions and success, and today more than 70 Russians play in the NHL.

During the Soviet era, hockey was the dominant sport, and members of the national team were give the finest apartments and cars. The 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviets proved that Russia produced some of the finest players in the world, losing the 8 game series 4-3-1.

Winter sports

Figure skating is another popular sport; in the 1960s the Soviet Union rose to become a dominant power in figure skating, especially in pairs skating and ice dancing. At every Winter Olympics from 1964 until the present day, a Soviet or Russian pair has won gold, often considered the longest winning streak in modern sports history. Other winter sports the Soviets or Russia are dominant in are cross country skiing (especially women's), bobsleigh, biathlon, speed skating, skeleton, and luge.


Since the end of the Soviet era tennis has grown in popularity and Russia has produced a number of famous tennis players. In recent years, the amount of top Russian women players has been considerable, with Maria Sharapova reaching the Nº1 in the world rankings. Other Russian players with a ton of success include Anna Chakvetadze, Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Myskina, Dinara Safina, Vera Zvonareva and Anna Kournikova. The Russian Federation has won the Fed Cup 4 times, in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Russia swept the women's tennis podium with Elena Dementieva winning the gold, Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva the silver and bronze, respectively. As of October 2nd, 2008, five Russian women are ranked in the WTA tour's top 10. Others former Nº1 from Russia are male players Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, while players currently in the male top fifty include: Nikolay Davydenko, Igor Andreev, Mikhail Youzhny, Dmitry Tursunov, and Marat Safin. The Russian men won the Davis Cup in 2002 and 2006.

Rhythmic Gymnastics

Rhythmic gymnastics is considered one of the most popular sports in Russia. In addition,it is considered in general that Russia has the best rhythmic gymnasts. Irina Tchachina , Alina Kabaeva , Yana Batyrchina and Yulia Barsukova turned out to be Russia' top rhythmic gymnasts. There are many rhythmic gymnastics clubs in Russia and the most famous one is the Gazprom School which Irina Viner teaches rhythmic gymnasts in Moscow.


Chess is a favourite pastime, and a sport that has been dominated by Russians in the post-war (1945-) era. The winner of the 1948 World Chess Championship, Russian Mikhail Botvinnik, started an era of Soviet dominance in the chess world. Until the end of the Soviet Union, there was only one non-Soviet champion.

Rugby league

:"See main:" Rugby league in Russia

Rugby league is a team sport in Russia. Russia competed at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup and was knocked out in the group stage. The premier rugby league competition is called the Russian Championship. It is currently ranked 13th in the world by the Rugby League International Federation. [ [ RLIF January ranking] ]

Rugby union

:"See main:" Rugby union in Russia

Rugby union is a growing sport in Russia. Russia is ranked 17th worldwide by the International Rugby Board (IRB) [ [ Official IRB Rankings] ] with a little over 13,000 players nationally. [ [ Official Russia Playing Numbers] ] Russia has a professional domestic competition, the Firepower Professional Rugby League, including teams from Moscow (two clubs), Krasnoyarsk (two clubs), Chita, Krasnodar, Novokuznetsk and Penza. Krasnoyarsk, a large Siberian city, has traditionally been the stronghold of Russian rugby union. Domestic matches are covered in the local media, and the intra-city derby match between sides Krasny Yar and Enisei-STM can attract large crowds.


The Russian Orienteering Federation (Федерация Спортивного Ориентирования (ФСО)) is the Russian national organisation of orienteering. It is a full Member of the International Orienteering Federation. [cite web |url=|title= IOF Member Federations|accessdate=2008-06-20 |work=International Orienteering Federation |date= ]


ee also

*Sport in Saint Petersburg

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