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.
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.
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.
Russian super grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi is known for winning titles such as the 2020/21 Candidates Tournament. He has a good record against world champions such as Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, and Garry Kasparov. He is also a professional player of the online strategy game Dota and plays on chess.com as lachesisq.
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.
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.
Russian powerlifter Nataliya Kuznetsova was introduced to bodybuilding at 14, when she had started visiting the gym on the persistence of her father, who wished to boost her self-confidence. The world bench press, armlifting, and deadlift title holder is openly bisexual but also flaunts her love for her husband
Vladimir Kramnik is a Russian chess player who was honored with the prestigious Grandmaster title in 1992. From 2000 to 2006, Kramnik held the Classical World Chess Championship title. From 2006 to 2007, he held the undisputed World Chess Championship title. He has also won three individual medals and three team gold medals at Chess Olympiads.
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.
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.
Elite Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin was 5 years of age when he began playing chess and a little over 12 when he made history by becoming the world’s youngest grandmaster. His skills have also earned him the nickname Minister of Defense. He is best known for his defenses against Magnus Carlsen.
Viktor Korchnoi was a writer and chess grandmaster. He is widely regarded as one of the best players never to have achieved the World Chess Championship title. He played chess until old age and became the oldest player to be ranked in the top 100 players list when he won the World Senior Chess Championship in 2006 at age 75.
Russian tennis star Svetlana Kuznetsova is known for her two Grand Slam wins in both the singles and the doubles categories. She created history by becoming the first Russian to earn a US Open title. She has a star cyclist mother, Galina Tsareva, and an Olympic medalist brother, Nikolay Kuznetsov.
Russian super grandmaster Alexander Grischuk is also a three-time World Blitz winner and one of two people to have earned multiple blitz world titles. He has also won four World Team Chess Championship gold medals, including an individual medal, and two Olympiad gold medals. He is married to grandmaster Kateryna Lagno.
Alina Zagitova is a Russian figure skater who has won one gold medal each in Olympic Games, World Figure Skating Championships, European Figure Skating Championships, and Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final; she is the only female figure skater from Russia to have achieved this feat. At the 2019 Glamour Russia Awards, Alina Zagitova was named Sportswoman of the Year.
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.
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.
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.
Alexandra Kosteniuk earned the grandmaster title at 20, thus becoming the 10th woman to achieve the feat. She has won several contests, such as the Russian and European women’s championship. She has also appeared in a film and promotes chess through streams and as a chess ambassador.
While he created a record with his 17 Chess Olympiad medals, Russian grandmaster Vasily Smyslov has also been a World Chess Champion. He had begun playing chess at age 6, inspired by his chess player father. Initially an opera singer, he stepped into professional chess after being rejected in an audition.
Daria Kasatkina is a Russian professional tennis player who has won four WTA Tour titles in singles and one title in doubles. The daughter of athletes, she started playing tennis when she was six. She pursued the sport professionally and excelled, making her top-ten debut in the WTA rankings in the 2018 season. She is openly bisexual.