Business News Russia - Page 46

Russia

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its era. Since the 1952 Olympic Games, Soviet and later Russian athletes have always been in the top three for the number of gold medals collected at the Summer Olympics.

Soviet gymnasts, track-and-field athletes, weight lifters, wrestlers, boxers, fencers, shooters, chess players, cross country skiers, biathletes, speed skaters and figure skaters were consistently among the best in the world, along with Soviet basketball, handball, volleyball and ice hockey players. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian athletes have continued to dominate international competitions. The 1980 Summer Olympic Games were held in Moscow while the 2014 Winter Olympics will be hosted by Sochi.

As the Soviet Union, Russia was traditionally very strong in basketball, winning various Olympic tournaments, World

Championships and Eurobasket. As of 2009 they have various players in the NBA, notably Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, and are considered as a worldwide basketball force. In 2007, Russia defeated world champions Spain to win Eurobasket 2007. Russian basketball clubs such as PBC CSKA Moscow (2006 and 2008 Euroleague Champions) have also had great success in European competitions such as the Euroleague and the ULEB Cup.

Although ice hockey was only introduced during the Soviet era, the national team soon dominated the sport internationally, winning gold at almost all the Olympics and World Championships they contested. Russian players Valery Kharlamov, Sergey Makarov, Vyacheslav Fetisov and Vladislav Tretiak hold 4 of 6 positions in the IIHF Team of the Century. As with some other sports, the Russian ice hockey programme suffered after the breakup of the Soviet Union with Russia enduring a 15 year gold medal drought. At that time many prominent Russian players made their career in the NHL.

In recent years Russia has reemerged as a hockey superpower, winning back to back gold medals in the 2008 and 2009 World Championships, and overtaking team Canada as the top ranked ice hockey team in the world. The Kontinental Hockey League was founded in 2008 as a successor to the Russian Superleague. It is seen as a rival to the NHL and is ranked the top hockey league in Europe as of 2009. Bandy, known in Russian as "hockey with a ball", is another traditionally popular ice sport, with national league games averaging around 3500 spectators. The Soviet Union won all the Bandy World Championships from 1957 to 1979.

All Religions Temple in a multicultural city of Kazan.