Russian Words: Sports

Poland v Russia - Group A: UEFA EURO 2012
A giant Russian flag is seen during the UEFA EURO 2012 soccer tournament. Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Russia. Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

Sports play an important role in Russian society. Children commonly learn at least one type of sport, while older Russians watch competitions and matches live or on TV. The following vocabulary list can help you learn all the essential Russian words related to sports.

Types of Sports

The most popular sports in Russia are soccer, hockey, and volleyball, followed by basketball, track and field, skiing, boxing, and figure skating.

Russian English Pronunciation Examples
Футбол soccer footBOL

Ты любишь футбол? (ty LYUbish footBOL?)
Do you like soccer?

Хоккей ice hockey hakKEIY

Он играет в хоккей (on eegRAyet f hakKEIY)
He plays ice hockey

Волейбол volleyball valeyBOL

Я не умею играть в волейбол (ya ne ooMYEyu eegRAT’ v valeyBOL)
I don’t know how to play volleyball

Баскетбол basketball basketBOL

Баскетбольная команда (basketBOL’naya kaMANda)
Basketball team

Легкая атлетика athletics (track and field) LYOHkaya atLYEtika

Будешь смотреть легкую атлетику? (BOOdesh smatRYET’ LYOHkuyu atLYEtikoo)
Do you want to watch athletics?

Лыжные гонки skiing LYZHnyie GONki

Соревнования по лыжным гонкам (sarevnaVAniya pa LYZHnym GONkam)
Cross-country skiing competition

Бокс boxing box

Она занимается боксом (aNA zaniMAyetsa BOKsam)
She boxes

Фигурное катание figure skating fiGOORnaye kaTAniye

Чемпионат по фигурному катанию (chempiaNAT pa fiGOORnamoo kaTAniyu)
Figure skating championship

Теннис tennis TENnis

Лучшие тенниссисты мира (LOOCHshiye tenisSISty MEEra)
Best tennis players in the world (male)

Шахматы chess SHAKHmaty

Поиграем в шахматы? (paeeGRAyem f SHAKHmaty?)
Shall we play chess?

Американский футбол football ameriKANSkiy footBOL

По теливизору показывают американский футбол (pa teleVEEzaroo paKAzyvayut ameriKANSkiy footBOL)
They are showing football on TV

Бейсбол baseball baseBOL

Команда по бейсболу (kaMANda pa baseBOloo)
A baseball team

Soccer

Soccer is the most popular sport in Russia. The teams Spartak Moscow, CSKA Moscow, and Zenit Saint Petersburg have the largest numbers of supporters, with Spartak leading with around 23% of all soccer supporters in Russia. Since the country hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2018, the sport has only grown in popularity.

Russian English Pronunciation Examples
Игрок player eegROK

Известный игрок (eezVESniy eegROK)
A famous player

Гол goal gol

Забить гол (zaBEET’ gol)
To score a goal

Мяч soccer myach

Новый мяч (NOviy myach)
A new football

Ворота soccer net vaROta

В самые ворота (f SAmyye vaROta)
Into the middle of the net

Судья referee sood’YA

Судья остановил матч (sood’YA astanaVEEL match)
The referee stopped the match

Болельщики supporters baLYEL’shiki

Приехали болельщики (preeYEhali baLYEL’shiki)
The supporters arrived

Красная/жёлтая карточка red/yellow card KRASnaya/ZHYOLtaya KARtachka

Он получил красную карточку (on palooCHEEL KRASnooyu KARtachkoo)
He got a red card

Штрафной/свободный удар penalty/free kick shtrafNOI/svaBODniy ooDAR

Нанести штрафной удар (nanySTEE shtrafNOI ooDAR)
To execute a penalty kick

Hockey

Second most popular Russian sport, hockey has over 80 million active supporters in Russia. Bandy, a version of hockey which is played on ice with a ball instead of a puck, is believed by many to have originated in Russia, though this assertion is widely contested.

Russian English Pronunciation Examples
Шайба puck SHAIba

Забить шайбу (zaBEET SHAIboo)
To score a puck

Клюшка hockey stick KLYUSHka

Клюшка для хоккея (KLYUSHka dlya hakKYEya)
A hockey stick

Коньки skates Kan’KEE

Надеть коньки (naDYET’ kan’KEE)
To put on the hockey skates

Шлем helmet shlem

Купить хоккейный шлем с маской (kooPEET’ hakKEIniy SHLEM s MASkai)
To buy a hockey helmet with facemask

Краги/перчатки gloves KRAgi/perCHATki

Доставка хоккейных перчаток (daSTAFka hakKEInyh perCHAtak)
Delivery of hockey gloves

Нагрудник body protector/goalie armor naGROODnik

Надевай нагрудник (nadyVAI naGROODnik)
Put on the body armor

Tennis

Tennis grew in popularity in Russia after it was revealed that Russia’s former President Boris Yeltsin loved to play tennis in order to deal with stress. Maria Sharapova remains Russia’s most famous tennis player.

Russian English Pronunciation Examples
Гейм game geiym

Первый гейм (PERviy geiym)
The first game

Сет set set

Выиграть сет (VYeegrat’ set)
To win a set

Аут error AHoot

Мяч попал в аут (myach papal v AHoot)
The ball went out

Сетка net SYETka

Попадание в сетку (papaDAniye f SYETkoo)
The ball went into the net

Ракетка racket raKYETka

Первая ракетка мира (PYERvaya raKYETka MEEra)
Number one racket in the world

Мяч ball myach

Теннисный мяч (TEnisniy myach)
A tennis ball

Удар справа forehand ooDAR SPRAva

Современный удар справа (savreMENniy uuDAR SPRAva)
Modern tennis forehand

Удар слева backhand ooDAR SLEva

Удар слева в теннисе (ooDAR SLEva f TEnise)
Backhand in tennis

Подача serve paDAcha

Сильная подача (SEEL’naya paDAcha)
A strong serve

Тайбрейк tie break tie break

Что значит тайбрейк? (shtoh ZNAchit tiebreak)
What does a tie break mean?