Winter Sports in Russia
Russia is famous for its cold climate and the chilly weather makes it the perfect playground for various types of winter sports. Below you can read about three the most popular winter sports in the country.
Ice hockey in Russia is more than just a winter sport. It is, perhaps, the most beloved winter sport, victory in which has always supported the prestige of the country. Therefore, it might come as a surprise that the Russians only started playing it in the end of 1940s. Originally, they played hockey with a ball – the type of sport that is called bandy. Despite being new to the sport they soon became one the best teams in the world after the Soviet team sensationally won 1954 Ice Hockey World Championship that took place in Sweden. Yet the real success came to Soviet team in 1963 World Championship where the Soviet Union won the gold medal, beginning a streak of nine consecutive World Championship golds. Throughout these years the team was couched by the duo of Arcady Chernyshev and Anatoly Tarasov. The later one is often called the “father of Russian ice hockey”.
As of today, the Russian men’s national ice hockey team is ranked second in the IHF World Ranking.
Figure Skating and Ice Skating
Figure skating was introduced in Russia by Peter the Great who brought the first skates to the country from Holland. As a separate sport Russian figure skating was born in 1865 when the first public ice rink was opened in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Street in St Petersburg. This ice rink was the most well-equipped in the country and from the very first days became the training centre for figure skaters. On 5th of March 1878 the first Russian figure skating competition took place.
Nowadays figure skating is a hugely popular sport amongst the Russians. Not only does the country participate and wins the top places at Winter Olympics, World and European Championships but also holds its very own annual Russian Figure Skating Championship organised by Figure Skating Federation of Russia. Russian figure skaters are truly the pride of the country and people enjoy watching and supporting their performances on TV.
On the amateur level, Russians love spending their weekend during the winter months skating on the rinks, some of which are considered to be the most beautiful in the world.
Skiing, whether it is a mountain skiing or on the flat terrain, has always been loved in the country that has an abundance of snow during the colder months of the year. The industry has also been growing rapidly ever since the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2012. As the Olympics finished, the infrastructure remained and Krasnaya Polyana in Sochi has since become a leading ski resort in the country. Apart from a traditional mountain and flat terrain skiing, Russians also enjoy biathlon (mainly watching it on TV rather than participating), a type of sport that combines skiing with shooting.
Winter is indeed a magical time of the year that allows us to participate in so many fun winter sports!