Great athletes of Russia

Великие спортсмены России

In the article “Great athletes of Russia” we will tell about 8 Russian and Soviet athletes who glorified our country for many years.

The world of sports is full of great, great personalities who surpassed their opponents by a head. Many among them, at certain periods of time, demonstrated fantastic play and incredible achievements. Let’s get to know these athletes a little closer.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova

First on the list is the famous tennis player Maria Sharapova. She became the first racket of the world in 2005, when she was 18 years old. She became the first Russian tennis player to top the singles ranking. In 2012, she was able to repeat this achievement for the fifth time.

Sharapova has won five Grand Slam titles, two of which were at the French Open, one at the Australian Open, another at Wimbledon and the last one at the US Open. In total, she has won 36 titles and three doubles titles.

Apart from playing tennis, Sharapova also works as a model. She has taken to the catwalk in sports swimsuits and has also been the face of many fashion houses. Maria has also starred in several advertisements for top sports companies such as Nike, Prince and Canon. In 2007, Sharapova was appointed as a UN Development Program Goodwill Ambassador for the Chernobyl Recovery and Development Program. She was also ranked among the top 30 female legends of tennis.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib is a famous Russian wrestler who has not lost a single fight during his fighting career. He started wrestling at an early age, which is a common practice among his community in Dagestan. His father trained him when the boy was 8 years old. Khabib’s father was also a titled wrestler, serving in the army and practicing judo and sambo.

Khabib’s funniest training moment is a story from his childhood, how he wrestled a bear when the boy was only 9 years old. At 15, Khabib switched to judo and at 17 to combat sambo, which was taught by his father. Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was also the head coach of the Dagestan national team and trained several sambo athletes in Makhachkala.

He fought such famous athletes as Conor McGregor, Justin Gagey, Dustin Porier. In 2018, Khabib and McGregor had a big fight in Las Vegas, but in the fight, Nurmagomedov came out victorious after the fourth round. In addition to being an excellent fighter, Khabib speaks several languages: Avar, Russian, English, Turkish and Arabic.

Alexander Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin
Alexander Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin is another famous Russian athlete, one of the best hockey players in the world. Alexander comes from a family of athletes. His mother won the Olympic gold medal twice in 1976 and 1980, playing for the USSR women’s basketball team. His father, on the other hand, played soccer professionally.

His skills and experience on the rink were described as excellent, especially in intense hitting and good shooting. He won the Hart Memorial Trophy three times: in 2008, 2009 and 2013. He was awarded them as the National Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player. In 2018, Alexander became the captain of the Washington Capitals.

His personal record was winning the Maurice Richard Trophy (NHL’s Best Sniper) in the 2007-2008 season. In total, Ovechkin scored more than 800 pucks and is close to setting a new NHL scoring record, which is still held by the great Wayne Gretzky. Alexander has a lot of titles and trophies to his credit.

Lev Yashin

Lev Yashin
Lev Yashin

Known as “The Black Spider” or simply “The Man in Black”, Lev Yashin has every reason to be considered the greatest goalkeeper the world has ever seen. He became a player of Dynamo Moscow in 1949, but did not establish himself in the main squad until 1953 and for a while played more successfully in the goal of hockey Dynamo.

He played the first of his 78 games for the USSR national team in 1954, and by 1956 he had firmly established himself as the main player of the national team. After an outstanding performance at the 1958 World Cup, where the USSR national team was a quarterfinalist, Yashin helped his country win its first European Championship in 1960. He played for the USSR national team that reached the 1964 European Championship final, the 1966 World Championship semifinals and the 1968 European Championship.

Lev spent his entire career with Dynamo Moscow, winning five national titles and three USSR Cups. In 1963 he was recognized as European Footballer of the Year and remains the only goalkeeper to receive this award. He is a recipient of the 1985 Olympic silver medal. In 2000 FIFA named him “Goalkeeper of the Century”.

Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik
Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik was born in Tuapse into a family of artists. His father taught him to play chess. In no time at all he became regional champion, candidate master and champion of his city among adults. When he was 11, his games fell into the hands of Botvinnik, who recognized the young man’s talent and invited him to join the chess class at the Botvinnik-Kasparov school. Kramnik made rapid progress: he was world champion under 16 and under 18, and in 1991 he became an international grandmaster.

His first notable success came at the 1992 Manila Olympics, when the young grandmaster scored 8.5 points out of 9 for his team. From then on, Kramnik became a regular member of the Russian national team, winning the 1992, 1994 and 1996 Olympiads. By 1993 he was a candidate for the chess crown, but his first candidate matches were unsuccessful.

In 1995, Garry Kasparov invited Vladimir Kramnik to assist him in his world championship match against Vishy Anand. This experience would be useful to Kramnik, who beat Kasparov in London in 2000 to become world champion.

Vladimir Kramnik held the title from 2000 to 2007: he beat Peter Leko in Brissago 7:7; Veselin Topalov in 2006 in Elista 8.5:7.5. In 2007 Vishy Anand became world champion, with Kramnik sharing second place. In 2008 a rematch took place in Bonn, which Kramnik lost 4.5:6.5.

During his brilliant career, Vladimir Kramnik won more than 50 tournaments. He achieved great success in various fields and defeated the strongest grandmasters in the world. One of his most unusual records is his domination of the Dortmund Super Tournament, which Kramnik won 11 times. Vladimir was one of the best grandmasters in the world for 25 years (from 1990 to 2015).

Adelina Sotnikova

Adelina Sotnikova
Adelina Sotnikova

Adelina Sotnikova became the first Russian athlete to win a gold medal in figure skating in single skating. However, she announced that she was ending her career at the age of 23 after a long absence from the sport due to injuries. The athlete was born in July 1996 and showed interest in figure skating at the age of 4, when she came with her parents to a skating rink near her hometown.

Adelina’s first professional performance took place in 2009. At the age of 12, she already performed at the adult level and won a gold medal. At the age of 17 she beat champion and record holder Yuna Kim from South Korea, and in 2014 she won gold at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Adelina became the third Russian athlete to win an Olympic medal in singles skating after Irina Slutskaya. Adelina had a promising career in figure skating, but due to constant injuries she was unable to defend her title and therefore decided to end her career early.

Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov
Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov is a motor racing driver and the first Russian to compete in Formula One for the Renault, Lotus Renault GP and Caterham teams. He started his racing career in Russia and won the Lada sedan car championship before deciding to compete in Europe. He is commonly referred to as the Vyborg Rocket, in honor of his hometown.

In 2006, Vitaly joined the European F3000 series, finishing third. He then moved to GP2 and raced for DAMS in the second half of the season. In 2008 he joined Campos, and in 2009 he had his best season, finishing second in the individual standings.

Vitali in GP2 and began to win regularly, and this allowed him to surpass his personal rival Lucas di Grassi. In 2010, Vitali joined the Renault team before moving to Caterham in 2012. In 2013, he didn’t make it to any team and became the first Russian ex-Formula 1 driver. With no choice, Petrov joined SMP Racing in 2016 and won the World Endurance Championship.

Lydia Skoblikova

Lydia Skoblikova
Lydia Skoblikova

Last on the list for today is Lidia Skoblikova, a retired Russian speed skater and coach.

Lidia represented her country at the 1960, 1964 and 1968 Winter Olympics. She won 4 gold medals in four distances at once, which is a record for the sport. Lydia has 40 gold medals, including 6 Olympic medals, 8 from the world championships, 15 from the USSR championship.

For her versatility and invincibility Lydia was called the “Queen of Skates”. There was also a second nickname – “Ural Lightning”, because of her geographical place of birth (Chelyabinsk region) and the speed with which she ran.

Lidia Skoblikova is a holder of state awards and the Olympic Order, which she was awarded for special services to the Olympic movement.

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Alexander/ author of the article

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