In this section questions about sports and sport life in Russia are welcomed.
But to start with I would like to give a glimpse on Russian sports. What is the most popular sport in Russia?
When talking about the most popular sport in Russia, we must distinguish between doing sport and watching sport.
If we talk about watching sport, Russians are not very different from most of the world, and Sport No1 is football (or soccer in American version). I wouldn’t say that we do not like to play football ourselves, but very few do it on a regular basis. I presume that the main reason is our climate – we have a football suitable weather hardly four moths a year.
But when it comes to watching, we are great. We have a saying: everybody knows what is the only correct way to teach, to heal and to play football 🙂 Supporting our national team is a kind of adventure for Russians. For I don’t know what reasons ( may be due to our mystic way of thinking) we always put great expectations on our participation in international competitions. And each time we feel a great disappointment when it doesn’t work. And it goes on like that for decades. As you can see, I clearly understand that miracle is not going to happen. But each time I still think have the great “may be” in my mind.
Sports No 2 include the group of sports connected with skating: hockey, figure skating. We watch them and we do them! Skating in itself is very popular in Russia. In Moscow there are skating rings in walking reach, if not in every yard. In 90-s most of them were desolated and shabby. But during recent 10-15 years they were restored and are actively used. During daytime children and adults mostly just skate there, and in the evenings local boys play non-professional games. Apart from local skating pots, in winter skating facilities are arranged all around Moscow, including icing great spaces in parks. They are rather well equipped, you can rent skates there, use dressing facilities etc. The most famous of them is the skating facility at the Red Square. During winter the greatest part of the Red Square forms a skating ring with light and music. You can book the time and pay on line. I have been there several times and the impression is really fantastic: you skate at the very heart of Russia, looking at Kremlin.
Despite the fact that there are not so many places for swimming in most of Russia, swimming is also very popular practically all around the country. Most of us can swim, we like to swim as long as possible wherever we find appropriate waters 🙂 If at some resort anywhere around the globe you will see someone swimming in the sea for up to hour without a stop, most probably the person will turn out to be Russian or German 🙂 At some schools swimming lessons are arranged for pupils, but unfortunately it is still not a wide practice, though during recent years the number of swimming pools is constantly increasing.
If talk about cycling, we normally see it not as a sport, but as a kind of a “wheeled walk”. Though cycling is constantly developing in Moscow: there are now cycling lanes on some Moscow roads and in parks, elaborated bike renting system, still in my opinion cycling is far from being on top. Of course some people also do mountain biking, cross country, bwx etc, but all that is mostly for enthusiasts.
There is still a group of sports which are considered a kind of status ones: mountain skiing and tennis. You can practice all that here, but I can not say that they are widespread. The equipment for them is rather expensive, use of facilities is also rather expensive and facilities themselves are limited. Still among mid class it is a way to show status 🙂
Well … All in all, are Russian a great sports nation? I don’t know about great, but at least I can tell for sure, that sport is really a part of life of most of Russians. Different sports, in a different way, on a different scale. But still a part of life.