Russia is proud of its countless sporting achievements over the decades. Combining the total Medals of the Soviet Union and Russia, the country is second among all nations by number of Gold medals, both at the Summer and 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. The country’s gymnasts, track-and-field athletes, weight lifters, wrestlers, boxers, fencers, 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.
How many of the following major achievements do you remember?
Although ice hockey was only introduced during the Soviet era, the national team managed to win gold at almost every Olympics and World Championships they contested until 1992 and the break-up of the USSR.
Russia’s men’s national volleyball team won four Olympic gold medals (1964, 1968, 1980, 2012) and six gold medals in the Volleyball Men’s World Championships.
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.
Appearing in four FIFA World Cups from 1958 to 1970, Lev Yashin is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of football.
In 1956 and 1988, the Soviet Union won gold at the Olympic football tournament.
Russian clubs CSKA Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg won the UEFA Cup in 2005 and 2008 respectively.
In 2007, the Russian national basketball team won the European Basketball Championship.
Larisa Latynina, who currently holds the record for the most gold Olympic medals won by a woman (and held the record for most Olympic medals won by any individual from 1964 until 2012, when swimmer Michael Phelps broke her record), established the USSR as the dominant force in gymnastics for many years. Today, Russia is the leading nation in rhythmic gymnastics.
Russian synchronised swimming is the best in the world, taking almost all the gold medals at the Olympics and World Championships in recent decades.
Figure skating is another popular sport in Russia, especially pair skating and ice dancing. With the exception of 2010, a Soviet or Russian pair has won gold at every Winter Olympics since 1964.
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is the world’s highest paid female athlete.
Chess is a popular pastime in Russia. Since 1927, Russian grandmasters have held the world chess championship almost continuously.
Russia won the largest number of medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi with 13 gold, 11 silver, and 9 bronze medals.
Formula One is becoming increasingly popular in Russia. In 2010, Vitaly Petrov became the first Russian to drive in Formula One, and was soon followed by a second – Daniil Kvyat – in 2014.