Mikhail Tal was a Soviet Latvian chess player. Widely regarded as one of the best attacking players and a creative genius, Tal was renowned for his unpredictability and improvisation. He was also known as the magician from Riga for his daring, combinatorial playing style. Since 2006, the Mikhail Tal Memorial has been annually held in Moscow to honor Tal's memory.
Kristaps Porzingis is a Latvian basketball player who currently plays professional basketball at the National Basketball Association (NBA) where he represents the Dallas Mavericks. Standing at 7’3, Porziņģis is one of the tallest players active in the NBA. Also an important player for his Latvian national team, Kristaps Porzingis won the Latvian Rising Star of the Year award in 2015.
In school, Latvian-Canadian MMA fighter Misha Cirkunov excelled in many sports, such as swimming, judo, and basketball. After an unsuccessful stint as a gym owner, he chose mixed martial arts as a career option. The UFC fighter currently ranks 12th in the MMA light heavyweight rankings.
Ernst von Bergmann was a Baltic German surgeon, known for being the first physician to introduce heat sterilization of surgical instruments. He is credited to be a pioneer of aseptic surgery. He also served as a medical officer in the Austro-Prussian War (1866) and the Franco-Prussian War. He wrote a classic treatise on head injuries, among other medical works.
Once a lanky kid, Yevgeny Marchenko was inspired by an acrobatic gymnastics program at his school and later pursued the sport as a career option. He later not only became a Soviet national champion, but also a 5-time World champion and a 4-time European champion. He also coached Carly Patterson.