10 Famous Russian Athletes

These 10 famous Russian athletes are but a sampling of the athletic prowess which the nation of Russia has offered the world over the years. Particularly in tennis and hockey, Russia has produced some of the planet's most complete athletes in history. 

  1. Sergei Federov was a right winger who primarily played for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League. Although also a member of Russian Olympic teams, Federov was known for leading the NHL in goals and points for several years, and helping to guide the Red Wings to Stanley Cup Championships during the 1990's.
  2. Anna Kournikova became legendary for her modelling talents, but was internationally renown for her skills as a tennis player long before she was internationally renown for her body. This famous Russian athlete, who very recently became an American citizen, has consistently been among the world's greatest tennis players since her career began in the late 1990's.
  3. Maria Sharapova won world fame with her victory at the 2004 Wimbledon Open, one of professional tennis' most prestigious tournaments. Since then Sharapova has gone on to be arguably the top tennis player in the world, with 22 tournament championships and several world number one rankings.
  4. Andrei Kirilenko has played professional basketball for the Utah Jazz since 1999. A key Jazz player during the era of John Stockton and Karl Malone, and up until the modern era, Kirilenko has been named to an All-Star team and been a part of several dynamic Jazz seasons.
  5. Elena Dementieva may have retired from the sport of tennis at a young age, but not before gaining international stardom for her upset gold medal victory at the 2008 summer Olympics in Bejiing, China. She began playing professionally at age 16, and retired in 2010.
  6. Alex Ovechkin is considered by many to be the greatest hockey player alive in 2010. The winner of several MVP trophies and other prestigious honors, Ovechkin has led the Washington Capitals of the NHL to several division championships, and the best record in the NHL. He was often compared to arch-rival Sidney Crosby of Canada in the discussion of best player in the league in the mid to late 2000's, and is thought to be a lock for the Hall of Fame. He is one of Russia's most famous athletes of all-time.
  7. Pavel Bure was an NHL player who competed for the Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers, and Florida Panthers during his 12 illustrious years in the league. Noted for his incredible skating speed, Bure was a multiple time All Star, and helped the Canucks to the Stanley Cup in 1994.
  8. Nikolai Khabibulan is one of the NHL's best goaltenders and one of the most famous Russian athletes alive. In 2004 he became the first Russian goalie to ever win a Stanley Cup, when the Tampa Bay Lightning emerged victorious. He has also put up stats that are consistently near the top of the NHL seasonal goaltender list.
  9. Evgeni Nabokov was commonly considered one of the best goalies in the NHL during his 9 years with the San Jose Sharks. This famous Russian athlete helped lead the Sharks to the best record in the Western Conference in 2010, posting a stellar 2.43 goals against average (GAA). 
  10. Mikhail Youzhny is a famous Russian tennis player who has achieved a world ranking of number 8. Noted as one of the most consistent Russian players to ever play the game, Youzhny has advanced twice to the semifinals of the prestigious U.S. Open.