From biathlon and tennis stars to Olympic swimmers and skiers, Belarus has been home to some of the world’s most famous faces in sports.
While it’s hard to pick the greatest athletes of all time, we tried to do our best, narrowed the criteria and came up with the list of 11 most iconic athletes in Belarus history of sports.
Darya Domracheva is Belarus’ phenomenon and a never-ending source of inspiration and point of pride. This is because when you say “I’m from Belarus” abroad, there’s a high chance you’ll hear her surname back.
She won her fourth biathlon gold medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018, and is now considered the most successful Winter Olympian since Belarus first competed in its own right in the mid-1990s.
Besides numerous titles, she is also the Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Development Programme, the first woman in the history of Belarus who has been awarded the title the Hero of Belarus and also a wife of the King of Biathlon Ole Bjørndalen.
At the Barcelone Olympics in 1992, Scherbo was unstoppable and unattainable. He dominated his rivals by winning six of the available eight gold medals.
This is the most titles of any single Olympics gymnastics competition, proving once and for all, Vitaly Scherbo is the best male gymnast from Belarus of all time.
Despite the latest sex scandal, we can’t but admit that he was a genius of gymnastics and will be remembered for his love to win. What else do you need to know about the legendary Vitaly?
His name is in the Code of Points for a unique Scherbo vault in which he performs a full twist onto the horse.
By the time his career ended in 1996, he had won 10 Olympic medals (six gold) and an incredible 23 world championship medals (12 gold). The latter remains a record today.
Victoria Azarenka is another superstar from Belarus. A professional tennis player is a former world number one in singles and was the year-end number one in 2012.
She is the only Belarusian player to win a Grand Slam singles title. Azarenka has won 20 WTA singles titles, 7 WTA doubles titles, and 3 mixed doubles titles.
“Whatever you do, you need to do everything with pleasure in order to feel well. I do what I love. It is my hobby, my work, and my life. I’ve managed to combine it all.”
This is the motto of Aliaksandra Herasimenia, who specializes in sprint freestyle and backstroke events.
Despite a two-year ban for a positive test for doping in 2003, Gerasimenya she returned to win gold medals at both the European and World Championships.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics, she won silver medals. Her ambitions for the near future are to win gold at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
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Five spins into the frosty night air followed by a perfect landing that brought Kushnir a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
His performance resulted in the highest score in Olympic history. Before the fame, a Belarusian aerial skier made his Olympic debut at the 2006 Winter Games.
He also competed in 2010 and the 2014 Winter Olympics. Besides five World Cup victories, he is the owner of a bronze medal at the 2011 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships.
Meet an ever-present in the women’s freestyle aerials since Nagano 1998, (and we are glad to introduce her that way) Alla Tsuper of Belarus.
Back then she competed for Ukraine, the country of her birth. Later she moved to Belarus and represented the country at Salt Lake City 2002.
She was 5th at the 1998 Winter Olympics, 9th at the 2002 Winter Olympics, 10th at the 2006 Winter Olympics, and 8th at the 2010 Winter Olympics
Tsuper’s Sochi 2014 triumph came as a major surprise. She finally became an Olympic champion, pulling off a perfect jump to land a much-deserved gold.
A Belarusian long-distance runner and former racewalker. She is a three-time national champion. She had a marathon best of 2:23:54 and was fourth at the London Marathon in 2016.
She has won marathons in Siberia and California and was a silver medallist on the track at the 2015 Military World Games. We can list her titles and achievements all day.
But what you really need to know about her is that girl is simply untouchable and bulletproof. At the European Athletics Championships women’s marathon in Berlin last year, she won gold.
Actually, it’s not about the medal, it’s about the way she did it. Despite suffering from a horrendous nosebleed and taking a wrong turn at the finish, she kept running and won that marathon.
Vasil Kiryienka is a Belarusian racing cyclist, who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam Team Sky. He is usually described as one of the most complete team riders in professional cycling.
Time trial world champion in 2015, ‘Kiry’ also has three Giro d’Italia stage victories to his name. The Belarusian is best known for spending kilometre after kilometre on the front of the peloton during Grand Tours.
Kiryienka had the honor to carry the flag of native Belarus at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he competed in the men’s individual time trial event –he finished in 17th place.
Serena Williams is often called the greatest female athlete of all time, but Karsten can give Williams a run for her money for this title. She is a true living legend of rowing.
She has rowed at seven Olympic Games and has two Olympic gold, one silver and two bronze medals, plus six World Championship titles and 29 World Rowing Cup wins to her name.
The length of time Karsten has spent at the top of the rowing world is unprecedented.
Never give up. This is how a German-born Belarusian professional ice hockey player lives, works and plays. He last played for the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League (NHL).
Get your motors ready.. pic.twitter.com/NrFz5ywirr
— Mikhail Grabovski (@OfficialGrabo) January 10, 2019
Grabovski has represented Belarus in international play. He scored four goals and was the first star in one game in the 2005 IIHF World Championship and participated in the 2010 IIHF World Championship for Belarus.
In total, he has played in seven major international tournaments for Belarus. Grabovski is a creative player and scores points on a regular basis. A very good skater and hard to catch. You bet!