Timeout! Vital Russian Vocabulary for Major Sports

Sports are a popular pastime in Russia and being familiar with sports terminology can greatly improve one’s ability to converse and understand sporting events. Knowing the Russian words for common sports and positions will make following a hockey match or soccer game much easier.

List of Sports in Russian

Russia has a rich sports culture, with athletes competing in a wide variety of sporting events across the country. While sports like hockey, soccer, and tennis may be the most popular, there are many more sports with established Russian terminology. Knowing the Russian words for different sports can help anyone better understand sporting news, converse with fans, or participate in athletics in Russia.

Below is an extensive list of sports along with their Russian translations:

футбол – football/soccer
хоккей – hockey
баскетбол – basketball
волейбол – volleyball
гандбол – handball
бейсбол – baseball
регби – rugby
теннис – tennis
бадминтон – badminton
настольный теннис – table tennis
бильярд – billiards
боулинг – bowling
гольф – golf
бокс – boxing
смешанные единоборства – mixed martial arts
кикбоксинг – kickboxing
фехтование – fencing
стрельба – shooting
шахматы – chess
шашки – checkers
нарды – backgammon
бридж – bridge
покер – poker
гимнастика – gymnastics
фигурное катание – figure skating
конный спорт – equestrian
плавание – swimming
прыжки в воду – diving
синхронное плавание – synchronized swimming
водное поло – water polo
гребля – rowing
серфинг – surfing
легкая атлетика – track and field
лыжный спорт – skiing
сноуборд – snowboarding
биатлон – biathlon
кёрлинг – curling
автоспорт – motorsports
велоспорт – cycling

Other useful terms include судья (referee), тренер (coach), замена (substitution), штрафной (penalty), and овертайм (overtime).

Popular Sports in Russia

Football is by far the most popular sport in Russia. The Russian Premier League draws huge crowds and intense interest across the country. The Russian national team is a source of great pride, especially when they compete in the World Cup. Top clubs include Spartak Moscow, CSKA Moscow, Zenit St. Petersburg, and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Ice hockey is another beloved sport in Russia. The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is a top international league. Historic clubs include CSKA Moscow, SKA Saint Petersburg, and HC Dynamo Moscow. Many top Russian players compete in the NHL as well, like Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. The Russian national team is always a threat in the Olympics and World Championships.

While less popular than football and hockey, basketball has an established following in Russia. The VTB United League attracts spectators across Eastern Europe. Notable Russian players in the NBA include Andrei Kirilenko and Timofey Mozgov. Top clubs are CSKA Moscow, BC Khimki, BC Zenit Saint Petersburg.

Russia also has a strong tradition in tennis, especially on the women’s side. Stars include Maria Sharapova, Anna Kournikova, Maria Kirilenko, and Anastasia Myskina. The Kremlin Cup and St. Petersburg Open are popular professional events held annually in Russia.

Figure skating is a beloved winter sport in Russia. At the Olympics, Russian figure skaters like Alina Zagitova, Yevgenia Medvedeva, Yulia Lipnitskaya regularly vie for gold. Russia is known for producing many of the world’s top skaters.

Learning the names for sports venues and equipment is also helpful. For example, a soccer field is called a футбольное поле, a hockey puck is a шайба, and a basketball hoop is корзина. By mastering these terms, following a live game or sports coverage in Russian becomes much easier.

Knowing key sports vocabulary is essential for navigating sporting culture and discussions in Russia. With this foundation of the most common sports, positions, and terms, one can continue building knowledge by engaging with Russian speakers and media around these popular pastimes. Resources such as Russian sports websites, magazines, and broadcasts offer great opportunities for boosting fluency and comprehension.

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