Russian professional mixed martial artist, Khabib Nurmagomedov, is known for holding the longest active undefeated streak in MMA, with 28 wins and no losses. In September 2020, he was named #2 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings. He practices Islam and is the first Muslim to win a UFC title.
Garry Kasparov is a Russian chess player. A grandmaster, Kasparov is a former World Chess Champion who was ranked No. 1 for 255 months during his career that spanned 21 years. After his retirement, Garry Kasparov focused on writing and politics; he founded a social movement called the United Civil Front, which is part of an opposition coalition in Moscow.
Former American boxer Roy Jones Jr. was born to a boxer father. Despite his defeat in the gold medal match at the 1988 Seoul Olympics due to a faulty decision by the judges, he won the Val Barker Award. He was the second light heavyweight champion to earn a heavyweight title.
Alexander Ovechkin is a Russian ice hockey player who currently captains the Washington Capitals, a popular team which competes in the National Hockey League (NHL). Considered one of the greatest players of all time, Alexander Ovechkin has won prestigious awards, such as the Rocket Richard Trophy, Art Ross Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award, and Calder Memorial Trophy.
Russian chess grandmaster, Anatoly Karpov, was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985, before finally being defeated by Garry Kasparov. With over 160 first-place finishes, Karpov is widely considered one of the greatest players in history. Since his retirement, he has involved himself in several humanitarian causes. He has an extensive stamp collection.
Aziz Shavershian was a Russian-born Australian personal trainer, bodybuilder, and model. He started posting videos on YouTube in 2007, establishing a cult following. Aziz was the poster boy of aesthetics, a subculture of amateur bodybuilding. Before his death, due to a heart attack, Aziz Shavershian had established a clothing line and his own protein label called Protein of the Gods.
Kostya Tszyu is a former boxer who held multiple light-welterweight championships. Renowned for his punching power, Tszyu is considered one of the hardest-punching boxers in the history of light-welterweight boxing. He represented the Soviet Union at the 1991 World Championships, where he won a gold medal. In 2010, Tszyu was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Boris Spassky is a Russian chess player who held the World Chess Championship title from 1969 to 1972. He was part of the famous World Chess Championship match in 1972 where he lost his championship title to Bobby Fischer of the United States. In Bobby Fischer's 2014 biopic Pawn Sacrifice, Boris Spassky is portrayed by American actor Isaac Liev Schreiber.
Olga Korbut is a former gymnast who represented the Soviet Union in two Olympic Games, winning four gold medals and two silver medals. Nicknamed the Sparrow from Minsk, Korbut also participated in the 18th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships where she won two gold medals and four silver medals. In 1988, she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Sergey Kovalev is a Russian boxer who has held several world championships in the light heavyweight category. From 2014 to 2016, he held the IBF and WBA (Undisputed) titles. Between 2013 and 2019, he held the WBO title three times. Kovalev is renowned for his extraordinary punching power. In 2019, The Ring magazine named him the world's second-best light heavyweight.
Sofia Kenin is an American tennis player who won her first Grand Slam title in 2020 when she defeated Garbiñe Muguruza in the Australian Open. By virtue of her Australian Open triumph, Sofia Kenin received the prestigious WTA Player of the Year award in the same year. She is renowned for her persistent determination and mental toughness.
Alexander Povetkin is a Russian professional boxer who won an Olympic gold medal for his country in 2004. The current WBC interim heavyweight champion, Povetkin was ranked the fourth-best active heavyweight in the world by The Ring magazine in 2020. Alexander Povetkin is also regarded as one of the best active boxers, pound for pound.
Yulia Lipnitskaya stunned her fans with the news of her retirement at the tender age of 19. Apparently, she had been struggling with injuries and anorexia. The Russian professional figure skater won an Olympic gold at 15, thus becoming the youngest Russian gold medalist in history.
Born in Moscow, Elena Rybakina initially played for Russia, but began representing Kazakhstan when she found herself at no. 175 in the global rankings. Now WTA no. 17, she is known for her powerful serve and her towering 6-foot frame. She also excelled in ice skating and gymnastics as a child.
Maurice Tillet was a Russian professional wrestler. A two-time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, Tillet was a very successful and popular wrestler at that time. He even appeared as The Swedish Angel in the 1949 American fantasy film Mighty Joe Young. Maurice Tillet was posthumously inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2012.
Andrey Arshavin is a Russian former football player who helped Zenit Saint Petersburg win several trophies, such as the League Cup, Russian Premier League, UEFA Cup, Russian Super Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup. He was also an important player for the Russian national football team and helped the team reach the semi-final of UEFA Euro 2008.
Artem Lobov is a Russian retired boxer and mixed martial artist. He competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the Featherweight division and earned one Fight of the Night award. He also competed in other popular promotions, such as the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, Cage Contender, and Cage Warriors.
Alexander Alekhine was a French and Russian chess player renowned for his imaginative and fierce attacking style. He also possessed great positional and endgame skill, which he used effectively to reign as the World Chess Champion from 1927 to 1935 and then from 1937 to 1946. Also a theoretician, Alexander Alekhine innovated several opening variations, including the Alekhine's Defence.
Russia-born Swedish freestyle wrestler and mixed martial artist Khamzat Chimaev began wrestling as a child, possibly to save himself from the bullies. Eventually, he took up freestyle wrestling, winning the Swedish Championship three times between 2015 and 2018, thereafter emerging as an award winning mixed martial artist. Currently, he competes in the welterweight and middleweight divisions of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Zabit Magomedsharipov is a Russian mixed martial artist who currently competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). In the 2018 World MMA Awards, he was honored with the Submission of the Year award for his fight against Brandon Davis. Prior to his UFC career, Zabit Magomedsharipov was a featherweight champion in the Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB).
Tigran Petrosian was a Soviet-Armenian chess player who achieved the grandmaster title in 1952. Nicknamed Iron Tigran, Petrosian was the World Chess Champion between 1963 and 1969. Regarded as one of the best chess players in Armenia during his generation, Tigran Petrosian is credited with popularizing the game in Armenia. He also won the USSR Chess Championship on four occasions.
Petr Yan is a Russian mixed martial artist who competes in the UFC. A former UFC Bantamweight Champion, Yan is currently ranked first in the UFC bantamweight rankings. He has won a Fight of the Night and a Performance of the Night award in his UFC career so far. Prior to his UFC career, Yan was an ACB Bantamweight Champion.
Daniil Medvedev is a Russian tennis player who won his first Grand Slam title in 2021 when he defeated Djokovic in straight sets to win the US Open. Standing at 6 feet 6 inches tall, Medvedev became the tallest Grand Slam champion in the history of the Open Era. His height played a decisive role in his US Open victory.
Islam Makhachev is a Russian mixed martial artist who currently competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Makhachev is currently ranked fifth in the UFC lightweight rankings. He has won one Fight of the Night award in his UFC career so far. A former Sambo competitor, Islam Makhachev became a combat sambo world champion in 2016.
Evgenia Medvedeva is a Russian figure skater who has won two silver Olympic medals, two World Championship gold medals, and two European Championship gold medals. At the 2017 World Championships, Medvedeva became the first 16-year-old female skater after Michelle Kwan to win back-to-back world titles. Evgenia Medvedeva is also the first skater to achieve two Grand Slams in a row.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a Soviet-born terrorist best remembered for planting two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three people. Many people were injured and 17 of those lost limbs. He planted the bombs with his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the two killed a policeman after the FBI declared them suspects. Tsarnaev was killed in the ensuing shootout.
Valeri Bure is a former ice hockey player who played for popular teams in the National Hockey League. In 1991, he became the first Russian to play in the Western Hockey League. An important ex-member of the Russian men's national ice hockey team, Bure helped his nation win silver and a bronze at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics respectively.
Soviet chess player Mikhail Botvinnik was a three-time World Champion. At 14, he defeated the reigning world champion José Raúl Capablanca in an exhibition match. He was also a skilled computer engineer. He adopted a scientific approach to chess and penned several books on chess, too.