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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Known as the Belarusian Swan, Svetlana Boginskaya started off as a figure skater before moving on to gymnastics at age 6. By 14, she was part of the Soviet national gymnastics team. The three-time Olympic champion is now settled in Texas and owns businesses that provide gymnastics camps and apparel.
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
Introduced to tennis at the tender age of 6, Ekaterina Makarova later became world no. 1 in doubles and no. 8 in singles. The four-time Grand Slam winner has also earned a gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics with Elena Vesnina. She is known for her signature left-handed slice serve.
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.
Four-time Grand Slam champion Elena Vesnina has also earned two Olympic medals, which were, unfortunately lost in a theft in 2021. She has consistently been one of the top-ranked doubles players and went back to the tennis court at age 34 after a hiatus following her pregnancy.
The current no. 1 in Russia, tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova soared to fame with her mixed doubles gold medal win at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. She also earned her first Grand Slam singles final spot at Roland-Garros the same year. A prodigy, she made her Grand Slam debut with Wimbledon at 15.
Born into a well-known Russian tennis family, with a coach mother and a tennis-club director father, Dinara Safina was destined to take up the sport as a career option. She and her brother, former world no. 1 Marat Safin, made history by becoming the first brother-sister duo to top world tennis rankings.
Elena Dementieva is a Russian former tennis player who won the singles gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She has 16 WTA singles titles to her name and was also part of the Russian team that won the 2005 Fed Cup. She reached a career-high ranking of world No. 3 in April 2009.
Maria Kirilenko is a Russian former professional tennis player who won six WTA singles titles and 12 doubles titles. She was a semifinalist at the 2012 London Olympics, where she lost to Belarusian player Victoria Azarenka. She reached her career-high ranking of world No. 10 in June 2013. She is married to Alexei Stepanov and has two children.
Vera Zvonareva is a Russian tennis player with 12 WTA Tour singles titles, including the 2009 Indian Wells Masters, to her name. She has also won five Grand Slam titles in doubles. She started playing tennis as a child and turned professional in 2000. She has degrees in physical education and international economic relations. She is married to Alexander Kucher.
Anna Kalinskaya is a Russian professional tennis player who won the girls' doubles event at the 2016 Australian Open, partnering with Slovak tennis player Tereza Mihalíková. She has won seven singles and nine doubles titles on the ITF Circuit. She played her first Grand Slam event as a professional player at the Australian Open in 2017.
Ukrainian chess player Lyudmila Rudenko made history by becoming the second world women’s chess champion. Though she had begun playing chess as a child, she took it up seriously while on an economic planning meeting in Moscow. She also evacuated countless children during the Siege of Leningrad.
Julia Apostoli is a Soviet-born former professional tennis player. She has represented both the Soviet Union and Greece internationally. The daughter of football player Sergei Salnikov, she was introduced to sports as a child. She made her debut with the Soviet Union Fed Cup team in 1980. She won a gold medal in women's doubles at the 1984 Friendship Games.
Anastasia Potapova is a Russian tennis player. She started playing as a child and is a former junior No. 1. She emerged as the 2016 Wimbledon Championships girls' singles champion after defeating Dayana Yastremska from Ukraine in the final. She made her debut in a Grand Slam tournament in 2017. She played in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Women's Tennis Open.