It`s time to tell our readers about most important and traditional kinds of sports in Ukraine. Also we will speak about most valuable achievements of domestic sports and most prominent personalities.
Ukrainians are historically very belligerent and therefore athletic nation. We have our own national kinds of sports related to historical circumstances and conditions of forming our nation (Cossacks, Russian Empire, Poland-Lithuania protectorate etc.). Among them we can distinguish Cossack combined games, battle gopak (dance). Nowadays they became mostly a part of ethnofestivals an fairs. Also the national team of Ukraine in these kinds of sports holds demonstrations at some world championships of martial arts.
So Ukrainians are traditionally strong in wrestling and other martial arts. We have prominent historical example of Ivan Poddubniy who was never defeated in his 40-years long professional record of wrestler.
Let`s talk about the most popular and famous sport in Ukraine as we have of what to be proud of in football despite rather bad than good results.
Real heyday for Ukrainian football was in times of Soviet Union when national team of USSR was one of the top-teams in the world and won a lot of trophies. It was time of victorious play of Dynamo Kiev and their legendary trainer, Valeri Lobanovski. Also that team was memorable by such famous football players like Oleg Blohin (who was also the trainer of national team Ukraine in 2003-2007 and 2011-2012) and Ihor Belanov. Both won the Golden Ball in 1975 and 1986 respectively.
The first years of independance were hard for Ukrainian football. Adaptation was very long-termed but in the beginning of 21-s century Dynamo Kiev regained the former conditions and began to show nice quality of play. In this time were famous Andrei Shevchenko, Serghei Rebrov, Oleg Luzhny, Anatoly Tymoschuk and many other players of Ukrainian team. The most prominent achievement of Ukrainian football was getting to top-8 teams at the World Cup 2006 in Germany.
Everybody knows that Ukrainians are traditionally very strong in boxing. National team of Ukraine usually have a big number of medals on different competitions of the highest level and our boxers are famous all around the world.
We can`t not to remark here Klichko brothers. They both are elite of Ukrainian boxing and people who rised the level of professional boxing to ultimate pinnacle. There is no one in the world can compete them for a very long time.
But Klichkos are far not the only famous boxers from Ukraine. Young and eager Denis Berinchik, Olexandr Usyk, Vasyl Lomachenko and many others whom after London Olympic Games 2012 started their professional carriers very succesfully.
But we completely forgot about another prominent Ukrainian fighter from Kharkov. His name is Sergei Fedchenko and he is currently fighting for WBO lightweight division. He was never been knocked out our defeated earlier than 12 rounds.
If we will try to understand the reasons of so good school of Ukrainian boxers, we must return to the times of Soviet Union again. As very big numer of sport complexes including boxing gyms was built under Soviet regime. USSR payed a scrupulous attention to athletic conditions of own population and the boxing was among the most favorable kinds of sports. So that was the time when boxing school became really powerfull in USSR and then even spread to Soviet Camp (into Latin America, Cuba etc.) And now we just using the legacy of dead empire.
This kind of sports in Ukraine also has good Soviet traditions. Ukrainians were the part of national team USSR which was very famous and powerful at the international competitions. As example I can mention , who was twice gold medalist at Olympic Games in Tokyo and Mexico (1964, 1968) and a bronze medalist at Berlin Olympics in 1972.
Unfortunately, in modern Ukraine there is no decent financial support for voleball, so our voleyball league is on fairly low level and held on local voleyball sport committees and sportsmen enthusiasm mostly.
The only really strong team in Ukraine we can distinguish now. It`s Kharkovan Lokomotiv based on eponymous sport complex in the neighborhood with futsal team. Complex Lokomotiv belongs to Ukrainian South Railway and this structure is fully maintains the problems and finance of the teams.
Lokomotiv is broadly famous all over the Europe. It was a champion of Top-team Cup in 2004 and often get to top-rounds of the second best European veloyball competition named CEV cup. Currently Lokomotiv acting in Russian voleyball league which is considered among the best leagues in the world (including such famous teams as Zenith Kazan, Belogorye, Dynamo Moscow and many other).
Women handball much more spreaded and famous in Ukraine. Among them legendary women's team "Spartak" from Kiev, headed by Igor Turchin. "Red and White" 13 times won the European Cup, and athletes Zinaida Turchin and Larissa Carlova have been the best in the world and European championships.
In middle 2000-s most strong and titled team in Ukraine was "Motor" from Zaporizhya. But in 2009 because of financial problems women team was disbanded completely. Another big team of Ukraine, Lvovan Galychanka also experienced big problems and sufficiently lower their game-level. The castling of main sponsors of women`s handball had been warmed up a men`s handball a little bit. Eponymous team from Zaporizhya showed some good results on Euroarena but it was not last long. Our days seemed to be the last days of professional Ukrainian handball as it was realted and very dependent from big industrial companies which are now in 2014 are in disastrous situation and sports is the last problem to be solved by them.
Olympic kinds of sports
This branch needs sn individual approach as Ukraine has a lot achievements and it own legends in different Olympic disciplines. Ukrainian-born gymnast Larisa Latynina (Diriy) until 2012 was an Olympian record-holder with 18 medals in 3 Olympic Games in a row. In 2012 this record was beaten by legendary American swimmer Michael Phelps.
In athletics there is known pole vaulter Sergey Bubka, who set 35 world records, repeatedly won the World Grand Prix, six times world champion, once an Olympic champion in Seoul.
From modern Olympic history of independent Ukraine we can distinguish the big success in 1996 in Atlanta where our national team raised top-10, according to unofficial standings. The stars of the Olympic Games have become a wrestler Vyacheslav Oleynik, sports gymnast Lilia Podkopayeva, weightlifter Timur Tajmazov, artistic gymnast Ekaterina Serebryanska, boxer Wladimir Klitschko, athlete Inessa Kravets, gymnast Rustam Sharipov, sailors Eugene Braslavets and Igor Matvienko, as well as many other athletes.
But the first Olympic champion was figure skater Oksana Baiul who won the title of Olympic champion in Lillehammer.
Unfortunately , Ukrainian results are decreasing from one Olympic Games to another. That is the right indicator of Ukrainian inner crisis, conflicts of oligarchs and geopolitical conflicts of different countries and even big blocks on our territory. And it was more or less easy to disguise the problems ten or more years ago when it was left a lot from USSR as a legacy and we could use it. But now, ahen we must live on our own resources became obvious that Ukraine was insistantly degrading just all the time. Ukraine is really embodies rather then the country but an artificial project of outer power for solving different problems and strategic plans. And of course until we get out from this eternally erupting vulcano we would never know piece and prosperity. Sports shows it very precisely.