Famous Russian Sportspersons

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Find out more about the greatest Russian Sportspersons, including Fedor Emelianenko, Anna Kournikova, Garry Kasparov, Maria Sharapova and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
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 1 
Khabib Nurmagomedov
(Former Russian Mixed Martial Artist and the First Muslim to Win a UFC Title)
Khabib Nurmagomedov
59
Birthdate: September 20, 1988
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sil'di, Russia

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.

 2 
Maria Sharapova
(One of Ten Women, and the Only Russian, to Achieve the Career Grand Slam)
Maria Sharapova
25
Birthdate: April 19, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nyagan, Russia
One of Time’s 30 Legends of Women's Tennis, Maria Sharapova, the first Russian woman tennis player to top the singles rankings, earned three doubles and five Grand Slam titles. A failed drug test led to her temporary suspension. She bounced back with modeling and launched her confectionary brand Sugarpova.
 3 
Garry Kasparov
(Russian Chess Grandmaster and One of the Best Chess Players in History)
Garry Kasparov
13
Birthdate: April 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baku, Azerbaijan

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.

 4 
Fedor Emelianenko
(Russian Mixed Martial Artist and Judoka)
Fedor Emelianenko
12
Birthdate: September 28, 1976
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rubizhne, Ukraine
Russian mixed martial artist, judoka, and sambist Fedor Emelianenko, also known as “The Last Emperor,” competes for Bellator MMA and the Rizin Fighting Federation. He went from being a firefighter to Sports Illustrated’s top MMA fighter of the 2000s. He is also part of the Russian Presidential Council on sports.
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 5 
Roy Jones Jr.
(One of the Greatest Boxers of All Time)
Roy Jones Jr.
15
Birthdate: January 16, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida, United States

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.

 6 
Anna Kournikova
(Russian Former Tennis Player and One of the Best-Known Tennis Stars Worldwide)
Anna Kournikova
9
Birthdate: June 7, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Anna Kournikova was once world no. 8 in singles tennis rankings, in spite of never having won a singles title. She was no. 1 in doubles, teaming up with Martina Hingis. Following her retirement from tennis due to a spinal issue, she became a popular TV personality.
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 7 
Alexander Ovechkin
(Russian Professional Ice Hockey Left Winger)
Alexander Ovechkin
7
Birthdate: September 17, 1985
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 8 
Lev Yashin
(One of the Greatest Goalkeeper in the History of the Sport)
Lev Yashin
6
Birthdate: October 22, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: March 20, 1990
Legendary Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin was nicknamed the Black Spider or the Black Panther for his signature all-black attire. He played in four World Cups and later also served as the deputy chairman of the Football Federation of his country. He became the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d'Or.
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 9 
Kamila Valieva
(Figure skater)
Kamila Valieva
28
Birthdate: April 26, 2006
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kazan, Russia
 10 
Anatoly Karpov
(One of the Greatest Chess Players of All Time)
Anatoly Karpov
5
Birthdate: May 23, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Zlatoust, Russia

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.

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 11 
Zyzz (Aziz Shavershian)
(Australian Bodybuilder, Personal Trainer and Model)
Zyzz (Aziz Shavershian)
11
Birthdate: March 24, 1989
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: August 5, 2011

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.

 12 
Kostya Tszyu
(Russian-Australian Former Professional Boxer Who Holds Multiple World Light-Welterweight Titles)
Kostya Tszyu
3
Birthdate: September 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Serov, Russia

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.

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 13 
Boris Spassky
(Russian Chess Grandmaster)
Boris Spassky
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 14 
Olga Korbut
(Soviet Former Gymnast and Olympic Gold Medalist)
Olga Korbut
4
Birthdate: May 16, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Grodno, Belarus

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. 

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 15 
Sergey Kovalev
4
Birthdate: April 2, 1983
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kopeysk, Russia

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.

 16 
Alexander Godunov
(American Ballet Dancer, Actor and Member of the ‘Bolshoi Ballet’)
Alexander Godunov
4
Birthdate: November 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sakhalin, Russia
Died: May 18, 1995
Russian ballet dancer Alexander Godunov was part of the Bolshoi Ballet. He defected to the U.S. in 1979, causing significant U.S.-Soviet tension. He had also appeared in many films, such as Anna Karenina and Die Hard. His final days were marked by alcoholism, which also eventually caused his death.
 17 
Sofia Kenin
(Tennis Player)
Sofia Kenin
7
Birthdate: November 14, 1998
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 18 
Nikolai Valuev
(Russian Politician and Former Boxer Best Known for Being the Tallest and Heaviest World Champion in Boxing History)
Nikolai Valuev
5
Birthdate: August 21, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
The Russian Giant Nikolai Valuev has been the WBA heavyweight champion twice, and at 149 kg and 7 ft., is the heaviest and tallest champion ever. Severe health issues caused him to retire from boxing, following which he appeared in films such as Stonehead and became a State Duma member.
 19 
Alexander Povetkin
(Former Russian Professional Boxer)
Alexander Povetkin
7
Birthdate: September 2, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kursk, Russia

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.

 20 
Yulia Lipnitskaya
30
Birthdate: June 5, 1998
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Yekaterinburg, Russia

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.

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 21 
Sergei Fedorov
(Ice hockey player)
Sergei Fedorov
4
Birthdate: December 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pskov
 22 
Elena Rybakina
(Tennis player)
Elena Rybakina
3
Birthdate: June 17, 1999
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

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 23 
Maurice Tillet
(Wrestler)
Maurice Tillet
4
Birthdate: October 23, 1903
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ural Mountains, Russia
Died: September 4, 1954

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.

 24 
Daniil Kvyat
(Racecar driver)
Daniil Kvyat
9
Birthdate: April 26, 1994
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ufa
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 25 
Alina Kabaeva
(Politician)
Alina Kabaeva
13
Birthdate: May 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
 26 
Anna Shcherbakova
(Figure skater)
Anna Shcherbakova
56
Birthdate: March 28, 2004
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
 27 
Andrey Arshavin
(Russian Former Professional Footballer Who Played as a Winger / Midfielder)
Andrey Arshavin
4
Birthdate: May 29, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 28 
Artem Lobov
(Mixed martial artist)
Artem Lobov
4
Birthdate: August 11, 1986
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

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.

 29 
Becky Hammon
(Basketball player)
Becky Hammon
6
Birthdate: March 11, 1977
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rapid City, South Dakota, United States
 30 
Alexander Alekhine
(Russian-French Former Chess Champion)
Alexander Alekhine
6
Birthdate: October 31, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: March 24, 1946

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.

 31 
Sergei Grinkov
(Fgure skater)
Sergei Grinkov
65
Birthdate: February 4, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: November 20, 1995
 32 
Alexandra Trusova
(Figure Skater)
Alexandra Trusova
81
Birthdate: June 23, 2004
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ryazan, Russia
 33 
Ekaterina Gordeeva
(Figure skater)
Ekaterina Gordeeva
133
Birthdate: May 28, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
 34 
Evgeni Malkin
(Ice Hockey Player)
Evgeni Malkin
5
Birthdate: July 31, 1986
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Magnitogorsk, Russia
 35 
Khamzat Chimaev
(Mixed martial artist)
Khamzat Chimaev
5
Birthdate: May 1, 1994
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chechnya, Russia

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.

 36 
Zabit Magomedsharipov
(Mixed martial artist)
Zabit Magomedsharipov
4
Birthdate: March 1, 1991
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Khasavyurt, Russia

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). 

 37 
Tigran Petrosian
(One of the Best Chess Players in Armenia During his Generation)
Tigran Petrosian
3
Birthdate: June 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tbilisi, Georgia
Died: August 13, 1984

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.

 38 
Petr Yan
(Mixed Martial Artist)
Petr Yan
4
Birthdate: February 11, 1993
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dudinka, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia

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.

 39 
Daniil Medvedev
(Tennis player)
Daniil Medvedev
7
Birthdate: February 11, 1996
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 40 
Pavel Bure
(Former ice hockey player who played the right wing position)
Pavel Bure
6
Birthdate: March 31, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
 41 
Islam Makhachev
(Mixed martial artist)
Islam Makhachev
4
Birthdate: September 27, 1991
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Makhachkala, Russia

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.

 42 
Evgenia Medvedeva
(Former Competitive Russian Figure Skater)
Evgenia Medvedeva
3700
Birthdate: November 19, 1999
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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. 

 43 
Tamerlan Tsarnaev
5
Birthdate: October 21, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Elista, Russia
Died: April 19, 2013

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.

 44 
Vadim Nemkov
(Mixed martial artist)
Vadim Nemkov
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1992
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Belgorod, Belgorod Oblast, Russia
 45 
Valeri Bure
(Russian-American Former Ice Hockey Right Winger)
Valeri Bure
6
Birthdate: June 13, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 46 
Igor Akinfeev
(Football player)
Igor Akinfeev
3
Birthdate: April 8, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vidnoye, Russia
 47 
Yelena Isinbayeva
(Pole vaulter)
Yelena Isinbayeva
3
Birthdate: June 3, 1982
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Volgograd, Russia
 48 
Askar Askarov
(Mixed Martial Artist)
Askar Askarov
4
Birthdate: October 9, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kamysh-Kutan, Russia
 49 
Dmitry Bivol
3
Birthdate: December 18, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan
 50 
Mikhail Botvinnik
(Word Chess Champion Known for His Contribution to the Design of the World Chess Championship System)
Mikhail Botvinnik
3
Birthdate: August 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Repino, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: May 5, 1995

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.