Sport highlights of the year beyond Universiade
Capello Takes the Russian National Soccer Team to Brazil
Under the guidance of Italian legend Fabio Capello, the Russian soccer team successfully qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 2014, making their way to Brazil from first place in their group. They left behind Portugal, Israel, Azerbaijan, Northern Ireland, and Luxembourg.
The team had missed the last two world championships, in 2006 and 2010, because they did not qualify. Capello is highly regarded by Russian fans. He adjusted the team's game, making it more exciting to watch and more aggressive.
The whole country was following the results of the World Cup draw in December. Many believe that Russia got lucky. Its competitors in the group are Belgium, Algeria, and Korea. It is not known how long Capello will continue to work in Russia after the World Cup, but there are rumors that his contract may be extended until 2018.
Volleyball Players Conquered Europe
The Russian men's team had not won the European championships for twenty years, although it had won at the Olympics, the World League, and the World Cup. This year it finally managed to become the best in the Old World. In the finals of Euro 2013 held at the covered Parken stadium in Copenhagen the Russian team beat Italy 3:1. The gigantic Dmitry Musersky, who is 7 feet 2 inches, was voted most valuable player of the tournament.
Individual NHL Awards for Ovechkin and Bobrovsky
Because of the NHL lockout, some Russian hockey players with contracts with foreign clubs started the season in the Continental Hockey League in Russian (KHL). When the players' union and the NHL club owners protested, the hockey stars returned to America. Forward Alexander Ovechkin and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky were the heroes of the season and received the NHL’s most prestigious individual awards.
As top scorer, Ovechkin was awarded the third Maurice Richard Trophy of his career. Plus the Russian was recognized as the most valuable player of the regular season. Ovechkin also won the Hart Trophy for the third time. Columbus goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky became the first and only player in the history of Russian hockey to receive the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the best goalkeeper in the NHL.
World Combat Games
The Olympics of combat games held in St. Petersburg finished with a stunning victory for the host. In total, the Russians won 93 medals. Russian athletes excelled mainly in boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, sambo, sumo, and Thai boxing. The French were second in team standings, and the Japanese came in third.
Evgeni Plushenko Returned and Won
Click here to read more about Pushenko. Source: Imago / Legion Media
Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko took the ice in November for the first time since January 2013. The 2006 Turin Olympic champion won the short program at the Volvo Open Cup held in Riga. The venue was packed with fans hoping to see Plushenko skate. After 12 operations and an artificial disc in his tormented spine, Plushenko won his first competition in the Olympic season.
Klitschko - Povetkin Fight
Click here to read more about the fight. Source: AFP / East News
It was a fight five years in the making. Even if it turned out to be not so spectacular, it was still an event. According to search queries on the Internet, the fight between Alexander Povetkin and Vladimir Klitschko was even recognized as the premier sporting event of the year.
World Aquatic Championships: A Triumph for Russian Synchronized Swimmers
Source: Youtube / SynchroForum
In Barcelona, the Russian team took third place in the medal standings of the competition. The U.S. team won the 2013 World Aquatic Championships.
Russia won 19 medals – nine gold, six silver and four bronze. Seven of the nine Russian victories were won by synchronized swimmers. Fifteen-time world champion Svetlana Romashina was even invited by the organizers to the closing ceremonies, and not just as a guest. Svetlana dove into the pool and gave an encore performance of her solo program.
Later the European Aquatics League (LEN) named Romashina the best synchronized swimmer of 2013.
Again the Best in Beach Soccer
The words of Brazilian soccer legend Pele that "Russia will be the world soccer champion when Brazil is the world hockey champion" are no longer true. We're not talking about classic soccer, however, but the beach version of the game, in which the Russians won the world championship for the second time in a row.
Brazil, which lost the championship to Russia last year, failed to reach the finals because of their loss to Spain, which in the final match lost to Russia 5:1.