When considering Russia's sport repertoire, one may not be surprised at the favoritism of cold weather sports, due to Russia's cold climate, and some parts of the ginormous country even lying within the arctic circle. Nor should a love for challenge and competition come as surprising, given Russia's impressive history, and the size of the once great empire, the U.S.S.R. The important thing to take away is that Russians have an applaudable affinity for challenging sports, and they have within their favorites a source of common ground with every great nation, including ours.
I thought it would be a good idea to research Russia's main sports in order to better understand their culture. I know in the past sports have allowed me to connect with people of all nationalities and backgrounds. It is amazing how effectively a ball, puck, or chess piece can cross cultural lines. Sports are not only common ground, but they are demonstrative of a nation's past, and many times their future. In learning about how a nation spends their free time, we learn an incredible amount about their personality and their character.
In researching Russia's sports, I came across a website from the travel channel, http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/sports/articles/russian-sports. I expected hockey, mostly due to the movie "Miracle". But there were other, less prominent sports that Russia favors. For instance, I never considered Artistic Gymnastics. Apparently this is a style of rhythmic gymnastics, and it is not just big in Russia, but it is their source of national pride. They have prominent competitors in this realm, most famously Nikolai Andrianov and Svetlana Khorkina. Russia's love for chess took me at an equal degree of surprise. Not only is it favored as a popular sport, but the very idea of chess is different to Russians. They view it as not just an activity of mental execration, but as a sport that takes a physical toll as well. This mindset shocked me, but upon consideration I'd have to agree. I've certainly been stressed enough playing chess that my head has hurt! In addition, Russia enjoys the great sport of Football (American soccer), figure skating, and skiing.