2018 World Cup Ambassadors

2018 World Cup Ambassadors
Who will tell the world about Russia?
What are the Ambassadors for?
Mission and Tasks
If we were to put the Ambassadors' mission of any football World Cup in three words, those words would be "tell," "show" and "inspire": tell about the tournament, show its host country, rediscovering it for their fellow-countrymen and foreigners alike, and inspire love for the host country – and for football. The ambassadors' mission is definitive for the image of the World Cup.
Aleksey Sorokin,
CEO of Russia-2018 Organising Committee
"There are emblems and symbols purposely created by artists or designers, and then there are symbols of an entirely different order. They are the people who epitomize the values and qualities of the sport and of the host nation."
Like any living symbol, it is absolutely essential that a World Cup Ambassador advocate sports and healthy living. It doesn't matter if the Ambassador is not a professional football player. This isn't about the game per se, but about demonstrating the sport as a part, and a crucial part, of the nation's life, integral to its cultural core.

One other aspect of the Ambassadors' mission is propagation and promotion of the 2018 World Cup. A high-profile sporting event and a worldwide focus though it is, a World Cup does require dedicated support. By tradition, the Ambassadors participate in the events that are preparation milestones for the football tournament, and they officially represent the World Cup at meetings and activities on different levels. "We have elected athletes, members of our football family, cultural figures, artists, and members of the fan community to be our Ambassadors for the 2018 World Cup," said Russian Government Vice Premier Vitaly Mutko, who chairs the Russia-2018 Organising Committee. "They will propagate the World Cup values in Russia and beyond."

The mission of the World Cup Ambassadors far transcends mere representation. "On the one hand, they are expected to be these role models for millions of Russian boys and girls, exemplifying the best human and athletic qualities," continued Aleksey Sorokin. "On the other hand, host city ambassadors will serve as "signature" exponents of those great regions of ours, which will host the World Cup games, and will help fans around the world learn more about their respective host cities."

Russia's line-up of "role models" includes active and retired athletes, artists, rock musicians, TV hosts and composers.
footballer
Aleksey Smertin
Aleksey Smertin is former captain of the Russia football squad. He has played for Moscow's Lokomotiv and Dinamo, the French club Bordeaux, and English FCs Chelsea, Portsmouth, Charlton and Fulham. He was with Chelsea when the club won the English Championship in 2005. Smertin is actively involved in the preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. He was on the Russian 2018 World Cup bid team. Smertin currently holds office as antiracism inspector on the Russian Football Union.
singer
Zara (Zafira Mgoyan) (singer)
Zara's singing career began in 1996, when she was only 13. She recorded her first songs that year: Juliet's Heart, Only Today, Right Now and Lullaby. The songs got radio play and made Zara famous. A year later, she took her song Juliet's Heart to the Morning Star competition and made the finals. She also won the Grand Prix of the international festival, Let the Children Laugh. Zara is a nine-time Golden Phonograph Awards winner and four-time winner of the Song of the Year competition. The title of UNESCO Artist for Peace was bestowed on her in 2016 for her commitment to UNESCO values and ideals, and for the propagation and strengthening of peace and international understanding. Zara was officially cited as Meritorious Artist of Russia the same year.
music conductor
Valery Gergiev
Valery Gergiev is the art director of Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Theatre. He conducted the London Symphony Orchestra from 2007 to 2015, and currently conducts the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Gergiev was awarded the title of People's Artist of Russia in 1996. He has won the Russian National Prize three times, in 1993, 1998 and 2016, and also won a Russian Government Prize in 2015. Gergiev received a Heroic Worker of the Russian Federation award in 2013.
footballer
Igor Akinfeyev
Igor Akinfeyev had his debut on CSKA main line-up a week before turning 17. Akinfeyev was the youngest new player on the Russia squad when he hit the pitch in 2004: he was 18 years and 20 days old. He became the first-choice goalkeeper on the Russia squad a year later, and remains one to this day. Akinfeyev is a 2005 UEFA Cup winner, six-time Russian Championship winner, six-time Russian Cup winner and six-time Super-cup winner.
pianist
Denis Matsuev
A soloist of the Moscow Philharmonic since 1995, Denis Matsuev won the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition at the age of 23. Matsuev joined the culture and arts council under the President of Russia in February 2006. He is a 2009 Russian Federation National Prize winner. Denis Matsuev was awarded the honorific title of People's Artist of Russia in 2011. Matsuev is known to be a passionate fan of Moscow's FC Spartak and the Russia squad.
TV host
Yana Churikova
One of the most famous TV hosts in Russia, Yana Churikova made a name for herself working on Star Factory, a project on First Channel. Previously, Churikova worked as the art director of the Modern Pop Song, Film and Television Studio. She took the helm at MTV Russia in 2013. In 2014, Churikova was appointed to manage youth and music channels on Viacom Russia. She supports the Russia football squad and is a fan of Moscow's CSKA.
First Vice President of RFU
Nikita Simonyan
Nikita Simonyan is a legendary Soviet footballer, winner of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, and the greatest goal scorer in the history of Moscow's Spartak. He is a three-time best scorer of the Russian Championship. Simonyan has coached Spartak, Yerevan's Ararat, Odessa's Chernomorets and the Soviet squad. As a coach, he won three Soviet Championships and four Soviet Cups. Nikita Simonyan currently holds office as First Vice President of the Russian Football Union.
TV host
Sergey Belogolovtsev
A popular TV and radio host, showman, actor, director and team member of the KVN TV quiz, Sergey Belogolovtsev staked out his claim to fame with his TV projects O.S.P. Studio and In Spite of Records. He founded the not-for-profit Dream Skis studio together with his wife Natalia in 2014, teaching kids with cerebral palsy how to downhill ski. Belogolovtsev is an active fan of Moscow's FC Spartak, and contributes regularly to the World Cup preparatory events.
gymnast
Lyaisan Utyasheva
An international-class athlete, world and European champion in calisthenics, Lyaisan Utyasheva has retired from sports, and has since taken part in various TV projects. She became the host of Dance, a popular show on TNT, in 2014. Utyasheva had an active role to play at the unveiling ceremony of the official 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ mascot on First Channel.
ice hockey player
Alexander Ovechkin
One of the strongest players on the National Hockey League, Alexander Ovechkin was selected by the Washington Capitals first overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year.

Ovechkin has won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the most prolific scorer six times in his career, leading the league in goal scoring points. He became the first Russian to mark 500 career NHL goals in 2015. Ovechkin has won three World Championships for Russia: in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
footballer
Sergey Semak
Sergey Semak is the only footballer who has won Russian Championships with three clubs: CSKA Moscow, Rubin Kazan and Zenit St. Petersburg. Semak won UEFA bronze with the Russia squad in 2008. Semak remains unrivalled, in Russia, as a prolific goal scorer (456) and has played the most seasons in the elite division (19). He currently heads FC Ufa.
actor
Danila Kozlovsky
Danila Kozlovsky is a Russian film and theatre actor, Nika and Golden Eagle award winner. Kozlovsky has played in over 30 films, including the star role in the film Legend No. 17, a biography of the iconic Soviet hockey player Valery Kharlamov. Kozlovsky was the GQ Man of the Year in 2013. Kozlovsky has been working on his movie The Coach since 2016, scheduled for release in 2018. Kozlovsky roots for FC Krasnodar.
TV host
Nikolai Drozdov
Nikolai Drozdov is an eminent zoologist, public figure and popular TV and radio show host. Drozdov has hosted the educational show In the Animal World continuously since 1975. He was elected to the fifth line-up of the Russian Community Chamber in 2014. Drozdov, who is 80, is a devout yoga fan.
TV host
Sergey Svetlakov
Sergey Svetlakov is a popular actor, screen writer and TV host. He is on the Uralskie Pelmeni KVN team. Svetlakov won acclaim thanks to his part in the Nasha Russia comedy show on TNT. He co-hosts the ProjectorParisHilton show, and appeared in the film Yolki.
musical collective
Cossack Choir of Kuban
One of the oldest musical collectives in Russia, the Cossack Choir of Kuban goes back to the early 1800s. The choir is a steady feature at national sports highlights. It was a featured collective in the cultural programme of the 1980 Olympic Summer Games in Moscow. The choir contributed substantially to the preparation and staging of the cultural programme of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
"I'm glad my son will be volunteering at World Cup 2018"
Sergey Semak
opera singer
Vassily Gerello
Vassily Gerello is an opera singer, a Mariinsky soloist, who was awarded the title of People's Artist of Russia in 2008. Gerello is a winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Awards (1993), the Rimsky-Korsakov International Competition of Young Opera Singers (1st prize, St. Petersburg, 1994), the Tsarskoe Selo Art Awards (1998), and Golden Soffit, St. Petersburg's premier theatre award (1999). Gerello contributes regularly to various events dedicated to the Confederations Cup and the World Cup.
actor
Mikhail Boyarsky
Mikhail Boyarsky is a Soviet and Russian theatre and film actor and pop singer, a Meritorious Artist of Russia since 1984, and a People's Artist of Russia since 1990. Boyarsky ran his own theatre, Benefis, in St. Petersburg from 1988 to 2007. He starred in such films as D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers, The Elder Son, The Dog in the Manger, A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines, and Viva, les Guards de Marines! He is a passionate fan of the St. Petersburg-based FC Zenit.
commentator
Gennady Orlov
Gennady Orlov is a retired footballer, who played striker for Kharkov's FCs Avangard and Metallist, and Leningrad's Zenit and Dinamo. He took up sports journalism while still playing for Dinamo. Orlov has covered a wide range of sports tournaments, including Olympic Games, and world and European championships. Orlov currently serves as President of the Sports Media Association of St. Petersburg.
footballer
Vyacheslav Malafeyev
A graduate of St. Petersburg's Smena football school, Vyacheslav Malafeyev was invited to join Zenit as goalkeeper right after his graduation in 1997. Malafeyev accepted and has stayed with Zenit his whole career, winning four Russian Championships and three Russian Cups. The squad owes its 2008 UEFA Cup entirely to Malafeyev. The same year Malafeyev was awarded the title of Meritorious Master of Sports of Russia.
cosmonaut
Sergey Krikalev
The cosmonaut Sergey Krikalev held a world record in total time spent in space until the summer of 2015, with six ISS voyages to his credit, adding up to a total of 803 days in space. Krikalev is one of only four people who combine the titles of Hero of the Soviet Union and Hero of Russia.
footballer
Alexander Kerzhakov
Alexander Kerzhakov, a St. Petersburg Zenit striker, has also played for Moscow's Dinamo and Spain's Sevilla. Kerzhakov is acclaimed as the most prolific goal scorer in Russia's football history, with 233 goals to his credit, as well as the best scorer in the history of FC Zenit (161 goals) and the Russian national team (30 goals).
President of the St. Petersburg Football Federation
Anatoly Turchak
Anatoly Turchak is an entrepreneur who has served as President of the St. Petersburg Football Federation since 1995, and has sat on the executive committee of the Russian Football Union the same number of years. He was elected President of the St. Petersburg Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in 2007.
"Music and sports are a tandem"
Vassily Gerello
TV host
Viktoria Lopyreva
Viktoria Lopyreva's fashion modelling career began in 1999, when she won the "Fashion Model of the Don" competition, followed by her win in the "Rostov Beauty" pageant in 2001. She won the Donbass Open competition for her Don hometown in 2002, then was chosen as Miss Russia 2003. Lopyreva started another career, as sports show host on TV, in 2007. In 2016, the Russian Football Premier League awarded Lopyreva a prize in recognition of her efforts in promoting the Russian Championship and popularizing football among young people.
footballer
Dmitry Kirichenko
Dmitry Kirichenko used to play for Rostselmash (formerly FC Rostov) from 1998 through 2001, playing over a hundred games and scoring 38 goals for the squad. He later played for Moscow's CSKA, FC Moskva and the Ramenskoe-based Saturn. Kirichenko was distinguished as the best scorer in the Russian Championships of 2002 and 2005. While playing on the Russia squad in 2004, Kirichenko pulled off what was recognized as one of the quickest goals in the history of UEFA finals, scoring at the 67th second against Greece in Euro 2004 on June 20.
footballer
Denis Glushakov
Denis Glushakov played for Moscow's Lokomotiv from 2005 through 2013, then switched to Spartak. His contribution to the squad's success was tremendous in the 2016/17 season, earning the squad Russian Championship Gold Medals for the first time in 16 years. Glushakov has been called up regularly to the national squad since 2011. He has played 49 games and scored five goals for the national squad.
musician
Basta (Vassily Vakulenko)
Vassily Vakulenko is one of Russia's favourite rappers, as well as a TV host, actor, screen writer, director and producer. In the music world, he is better known by his aliases Basta, Noggano and N1NT3ND0. Basta co-owns Gazgolder Records since 2007. He is an avid football fan, and frequently attends football matches in Rostov-on-Don and Moscow.
TV host
Dmitry Dibrov
Dmitry Dibrov, a journalist, TV presenter, producer, director, actor and musician, has been active on five national channels, including First, Rossiya and NTV. He has anchored such popular shows as Vzglyad, Good Morning!, The People Say Nay, Dibrov Party and Cruel Games. Dibrov is best known for his role in hosting the TV quiz Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
wrestler
Varteres Samurgashev
Varteres Samurgashev took up Greco-Roman wrestling at the age of seven, joining the Russian junior wrestling team in the late 1990, and winning the European and World Championships. Samurgashev won his first "grown-up" national championship in 1998, and was enlisted to Russia's main wrestling team. Samurgashev won Gold Medal in the weight category up to 63kg at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney – this is his top achievement to date.
"I would travel 100 kilometres one way to see a football game"
Sergey Belogolovtsev
water polo player
Irek Zinnurov
Water polo player Irek Zinnurov won Olympic silver in Sydney in 2000 and Olympic bronze in Athens in 2004, both times playing for the Russian national squad. He also boasts a win at the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York, bronze medal at the 2001 World Championship, gold medal at the 2002 World League and 2002 World Cup. Zinnurov has won four Russian Championships and four Russian Cups with Volgograd's Lukoil-Spartak.
singer
Elmira Kalimullina
Elmira Kalimullina is a singer, a finalist of Voice, the singing competition on First Channel. She was granted the title of Meritorious Artist of the Republic of Tatarstan in 2012. In 2013 Kalimullina was honorary ambassador of the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan. In 2015, she was an ambassador of the water sports world cup, which also took place in Kazan.
actress
Ekaterina Skulkina
Ekaterina Skulkina is an actress and TV personality, known for her performance on the KVN team "Four Guys from Tatarstan" (2003-2006). She played for the 20th Century Team in 2011. Skulkina has appeared regularly on the Comedy Woman show since 2006. She acted in the films What Men Can Do and Friendship of the Nations.
footballer
Elmir Nabiullin
FC Zenit's full-back Elmir Nabiullin was voted the Best Young Footballer of the Year in Russia in 2014. His debut on the Russia junior squad was in 2011. His debut on the Russia squad was on 31 March 2015, when Nabiullin played as a replacement in a friendly with Kazakhstan.
footballer
Sergey Ryzhikov
Sergey Ryzhikov has been goalkeeping for Kazan's Rubin since 2008. He has won Russian Championships twice with the Kazan squad (2008 and 2009). He has also won one Russian Cup (2011/12) and two Super-cups (2010 and 2012). Ryzhikov won bronze medal at the 2010 Russian Championship. He was admitted to the Lev Yashin Club in March 2013, after missing zero goals in his 100th consecutive game.
ice hockey player
Aleksey Morozov
Aleksey Morozov, a long-standing captain and striker of the Russia ice hockey squad, won two world cups with the squad, as well as an Olympic Silver Medal in Nagano in 1998. Morozov played for the NHL club Pittsburgh Penguins for seven years. From 2004 through 2013, he played with Kazan's Aq Bars, winning three Russian Championships and two Gagarin Cups.
singer
Niusha (Anna Shurochkina)
Pop singer, actress, TV host and repeat Muz-TV Awards winner, Niusha recorded her first hit at the age of five. It was titled Big Dipper Song. She started performing on stage at the age of 11. Niusha recorded her first studio album in 2010. Niusha joined the fourth season of the show, "Voice. Kids," as a singing instructor in February 2017.
"Our fans are the face of our football squad"
Elmira Kalimullina
tennis player
Elena Vesnina
Elena Vesnina took her first steps in sport in her native Sochi. She has won two Grand Slam tournaments (Rolland Garros 2013, US Open 2014) in doubles and one mixed doubles tournament (Australian Open 2016). Vesnina and her partner Ekaterina Makarova won Olympic Gold Medals in Rio in 2016.
sports competitions director
Sergey Metreveli
Sergey Metreveli, the son of the legendary Soviet footballer Slava Metreveli (Euro winner with the Soviet squad), serves as director of sports competitions at the Sochi Football Federation.
figure skater
Ilya Averbukh
Ilya Averbukh did pairs, winning silver in sport dancing at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City with his partner Irina Lobacheva. He also won gold at the 2002 World Cup in Nagano, silver at World Cup 2003 and bronze at World Cup 2001. Averbukh made European Champion in 2003. He acted as the torch-bearer for the Russian team at the 2014 Olympic Games.
figure skater
Evgeny Pliushchenko
The figure skater Evgeny Pliushchenko is a three-time world champion and seven-time European champion. He took part in four Olympics, winning silver in 2002, gold in 2006, again silver in 2010, and making Olympic Champion in team events in 2014.

Evgeny Pliushchenko has been awarded the Order of Merit in the Service of the Fatherland 1st degree, and twice awarded the Order of Honour.
footballer
Evgeny Lovchev
Evgeny Lovchev played for Moscow's Spartak and the Soviet squad. He played full-back for the red and white squad from 1969 to 1978, playing nearly 250 games and scoring 30 goals. He made USSR Champion in 1969. Lovchev played 52 games for the Soviet squad. He made football history at the 1970 World Cup as one of the first players to get yellow-carded. Lovchev became a sports writer after retiring from football.
"How does one start discovering Russia? By enjoying the wonders of our national cuisine, of course!"
Yana Churikova
footballer
Oleg Shatov
Oleg Shatov, a half-back with the St. Petersburg FC Zenit, played for Ekaterinburg's FC Ural early in his career, 2007 through 2011. He played 127 games for Ural, scoring 16 goals. Since joining Zenit in 2013, Shatov has won a Russian Championship and a Russian Cup with the squad. He has also played regularly for the Russia squad since 2013. He has played 28 games with the national squad, scoring two goals.
ice hockey player
Pavel Datsyuk
One of the greatest living ice hockey players, Pavel Datsyuk played for NHL's Detroit Red Wings from 2001 to 2016, winning the Stanley Cup twice. Datsyuk's elegant play and incredible prowess has earned him the nickname Magic Man. Datsyuk was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history in 2017. He won Olympic Bronze Medals with the Russia national men's ice hockey team in 2002.
gymnast
Irina Zilber
The 2000 Olympic calisthenics champion, Irina Zilber has performed on the Russia national team since 1994, winning the World Championships in 1998 and 1999. She also won silver medal at the 1998 European Championship. Zilber was named Merited Master of Sports in 1999, and won gold medal in group events at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney.
biathlete
Anton Shipulin
Anton Shipulin leads the Russia national biathlon team. He won relay racing bronze at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, and led the Russia squad to gold at the Olympic Games in Sochi four years later. Shipulin became world champion in relay racing in 2017. He won silver medals in the World Championships of 2011, 2013 and 2015. Shipulin is a Small World Cup winner in mass starts during the 2014/15 season.
composer
Alexander Pantykin
Alexander Pantykin is a Russian composer and playwright, founder of the Opera Lite theatre movement, band leader of Urfin Juce. Pantykin's long and productive career in music has earned him the nickname "Ural Rock's Grandpa." An art school for children in the town of Verkhnyaya Tura, Sverdlovsk Region, was named after him in 2002. Pantykin was named Merited Artist of the Russian Federation in 2008. He is a 2011 Golden Masque national theatre award winner.
musician
Vyacheslav Butusov
Vyacheslav Butusov is the front man of two rock bands: Nautilus Pompilius and U-Piter, 2004 Golden Phonograph prize winner, holder of an Order for Outstanding Merit in the Service of the Fatherland 4th Degree, awarded in 2011. Butusov's compositions were featured in the soundtracks of the Russian cult movies Brother (1997), Brother 2 (2000), and War (2002).
ATV racer
Sergey Karyakin
The Russian ATV racer Sergey Karyakin did his first trophy race when he was only 13. His first win in a regional competition in the Urals came in 2002. Karyakin became Russian Champion in ATV trophy racing in 2010. He won a leg of the 2011 European motor rally championship. Karyakin won the Can-Am Trophy Russia in the SSV Sport category in 2016. Most recently, he won the international Dakar Rally earlier in 2017.
"We could stage a play casting the World Cup 2018 Ambassadors"
Alexander Pantykin
accordion player
Sergey Voitenko
An accordion virtuoso, Sergey Voitenko plays the Russian chromatic accordion, known as bayan. A bayan world champion, Voitenko has 11 international competition wins under his belt: in Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark and Russia. The Sergey Voitenko and Dmitry Khramkov duo, Bayan Mix, have played a few sets at Stadium Metallurg during the home matches of the local FC Krylya Sovetov.
track and fielder
Nicole Rodomakina
Nicole Rodomakina is a track and field athlete, winner of the 2012 Paralympic Summer Games in London. She won gold in long jumping and silver in 100 metre racing. Rodomakina won the World Championships in 2011 and 2013, as well as three silver medals. "Being a patriot, I will happily put my chores aside to represent my town for the ambassador programme," she promised.
cosmonaut
Oleg Kononenko
An instructor, cosmonaut and first class test pilot, Oleg Kononenko has spent a total of nearly 18 months at the International Space Station during his three spaceflights. His most recent flight ended in December 2015. He received a Hero of Russia title in 2009, a medal for Merit in Space Exploration in 2011, and an Order of Merit in the Service of the Fatherland 4th Degree in 2014.
tennis player
Anastasia Myskina
Myskina won the Roland Garros tournament in 2004, making second place in the rankings the same season, which was the peak of her tennis career. Overall, Myskina has won 15 WTA tournaments, 10 of them in singles. She has won the Federation Cup twice, in 2004 and 2005, with the Russia national team.
judo wrestler
Tagir Khaibulaev
Tagir Khaibulaev is the 2012 Olympic Champion, 2011 World Champion and 2009 European Champion, Merited Master of Sports of Russia. He also won the World Cup and the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi in 2009. He defeated the Kazakh judo wrestler, 2009 World Champion Maksim Rakov, early by ippon knockout in the final of the 2011 World Championship in Paris. He triumphed, also by ippon, over the Mongolian judo wrestler, 2008 Olympic Champion Naydan Tuvshinbayar, at the 2012 London Olympics.
footballer
Alexander Aniukov
At the outset of his football career, Alexander Aniukov played for Samara's Krylya Sovetov for five years, and won Russian Championship bronze with the Samara squad in 2004. Aniukov joined St. Petersburg's Zenit in 2005, and has remained with the squad ever since. He has been Russian Champion four times with Zenit, as well as winning the Russian Cup twice and winning a UEFA Cup and Super-cup. He won Euro 2008 bronze with the Russia squad.
footballer
Evgeny Savin
The Samara FC Krylya Sovetov signed Evgeny Savin, transferring from Perm's Amkar, in January 2008. He played 96 national championship games with the Samara squad in 2008-2011, scoring 19 goals, earning much kudos from the fans. Samara football fans still have a warm feeling for Savin for his dedicated play, his open, friendly demeanour and his love of Samara. Retiring from football, Savin took a job as sports commentator and show host on Match TV.
"We're going to open a bayan museum in Samara"
Sergey Voitenko
musicians
Kristovsky Brothers
The brothers Sergey and Vladimir Kristovsky founded their band, Uma2rman, in 2003. They played their first gig in Moscow the same year, opening for Zemphira. Uma2rman won the Russia Music Awards in the Best Debut category in 2004. They are three-time Muz TV prize winners.
footballer
Dmitry Cheryshev
Cheryshev the senior started his football career in 1987, playing for FC Khimik of Dzerzhinsk. He transferred to Nizhny Novgorod's Lokomotiv in 1990, and transferred again to Moscow's Dinamo in 1992, where he stayed for three years, playing over 100 games and scoring 37 goals. Dmitry signed a five year contract with the Spanish FC Sporting de Gijon in 1996. He began his coaching career with Aranjuez Club in 2003, and took over the coaching of the Real Madrid junior squad in 2006. He went on the coaching staff of FC Sevilla in July 2015.
footballer
Denis Cheryshev
Denis, the son of Dmitry Cheryshev, began his football training in the children's school of Sporting de Gijon, the club where his father played, in 1996. Denis was invited to join the Real Madrid school in 2002. Having passed through all the junior stages in the club, Denis had his debut on the Real main squad on 27 November 2012, in the 1/16 final of the Spanish Cup, playing against Alcoyano. Denis Cheryshev is the first Russian player in the club's history.
footballer
Dmitry Bulykin
Dmitry Bulykin is a striker who has played for Moscow's Lokomotiv and Dinamo, the German FC Bayer, Belgian FC Underlecht, Dutch FCs Ado Den Haag, Twente and Ajax. He won the Netherlands Championship with the latter club in the 2011/2012 season. Bulykin was the national championship's second most prolific scorer with Ado Den Haag, scoring 21 goals in the 2010/11 season. He has played 15 games with the Russia squad, scoring 7 goals.
commentator
Pavel Zanozin
Pavel Zanozin stays in the middle of Russia's football life, commentating football games and anchoring sports news on Match TV. "Nizhny Novgorod, my hometown, is always in my heart," confesses Zanozin. "I have had a special bond with this town ever since I was little. Everything that happens here deeply concerns me."
gymnast
Darya Shkurikhina
Darya Shkurikhina won the 2008 Beijing Olympics in group multisport events with the Russian calisthenics team. She also won gold medals at the 2007 World Championship and the 2006 and 2008 European Championships.
"I know the football encyclopaedia by heart"
Pavel Zanozin
radio host
Tatyana Gordeyeva
Tatyana Gordeyeva is a 20-time winner of Radiomania National Awards, the highest token of professional acclaim in Russian radio broadcasting, all thanks to her morning show, MurzilkiLIVE. Her morning show on Autoradio was voted the best in Russia 8 times on Radiomania. Tatyana took part in three Olympics – Vancouver 2010, London 2012 and Sochi 2014 – as a journalist and radio show host.
actor
Stanislav Duzhnikov
Stanislav Duzhnikov had his stage debut in his native Saransk. He joined the Gogol Theatre company in 1998, Jigarkhanyan's Moscow Drama Theatre in 2001, and the Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre in 2009. Duzhnikov is also known for his work in films and TV series. Duzhnikov, then 22, first gained prominence in 1995, playing Tolya "Bomba" Pistemeyev in the comedy film DMB.
saxophone player
Igor Butman
Igor Butman is a People's Artist of Russia, art director of the international jazz festival, Veise Jazz, which takes place in Saransk every autumn. Butman is also art director of his Moscow jazz clubs, Igor Butman's Jazz Club at Taganka and Igor Butman's Jazz Club at Polyanka, producer of the international festivals Jazz Triumph and Aquajazz, and owner of the Russian-American jazz label Butman Music. Butman leads the Moscow Jazz Orchestra since 2012.
footballer
Kirill Panchenko
Kirill is the son of Viktor Panchenko, the famous striker for the football club KamAZ. He received his training at the football school of Moscow's CSKA. Kirill transferred to Saransk-based FC Mordovia in 2010, and played for the club until 2013. Kirill Panchenko scored 15 goals in the 2011/12 season, helping the Saransk club break into the premier league for the first time. He played 114 games overall for Mordovia, scoring 31 goals. Kirill Panchenko joined Moscow's Dinamo in 2016. With the 32 games he has played for Dinamo so far, scoring 24 goals, Panchenko has been instrumental in bringing the blue-and-whites back to the fold of the Russian football elite.
commentator
Ilya Kazakov
Ilya Kazakov, one of the foremost football commentators and sports writers in Russia, has covered sports events for numerous periodicals and television channels. He has covered five football World Cups and four Euro Cups for the prime national sports channels. Kazakov was the media spokesman for the Russian national football squad from 2005 to 2015. He has authored two books: The Real National Squad and Football People. Kazakov hosts the Russian Football show on Rossiya 24, which premiered in November 2016.
gymnast
Aleksey Nemov
Aleksey Nemov is a four-time Olympic gymnastics champion. He won two gold medals at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta (vaulting and team event), and another two at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney (multisport and bar). Additionally, Nemov has won two silver and six bronze medals in various competitions. Nemov is a five-time world champion.
"Hey, footballers! Play football like it's jazz!"
Igor Butman
Olympic swimming champion
Larisa Ilchenko
Larisa Ilchenko made sports history at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, becoming the first ever open water Olympic swimming champion. She won her gold medal swimming a 10km race. Ilchenko is an eight-time world champion in the swimming distances of 5 and 10 kilometres. She was named the world's greatest open water swimmer for three consecutive years: 2006, 2007 and 2008. In 2010 Ilchenko was named the greatest open water swimmer of the first decade of the 21st century. She was admitted to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in September 2012.
track and field athlete
Elena Isinbaeva
Elena Isinbaeva is a pole-vaulter who won the 2004 Olympics in Athens and 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She won bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Isinbaeva is a three-time world champion in outdoor competitions and four-time champion in indoor competitions. Isinbaeva was the first woman pole-vaulter ever to clear the height of 5 metres on 22 July 2005 in London. They call Elena the "Russian queen of track and field."
footballer
Oleg Veretennikov
Oleg Veretennikov was a striker for Volgograd's FC Rotor from 1992 to 2000. Veretennikov scored 141 goals for Rotor, and 207 goals overall in his career, which remained a record for a long time. To this day Veretennikov remains the greatest scorer in the history of Russian championships, with 143 goals to his credit. Scoring five goals against Yaroslavl's Shinnik during the second stage of the 1998 Russian Championship, Veretennikov became the second (and so far, the last) footballer to pull off the penta-trick in a Russian championship.
footballer
Alexander Nikitin
Playing for Rotor, Alexander Nikitin helped the squad break into the top league in 1985. He was Rotor team captain until 1990. In 1993, Nikitin was highly instrumental in Rotor winning the Russian Championship's silver medals. Nikitin played over 300 games for Rotor overall, scoring over 100 goals. He was drafted to the Soviet Olympic football team and second line-up of the national football team. Nikitin was named the most prolific scorer of a USSR championship among the premier league teams.
"No one can foretell the outcome of a game. Not even an octopus"
Nikolai Drozdov
synchronized swimmer
Natalia Ishchenko
Natalia Ishchenko's family moved from Smolensk to Kaliningrad when she was very little. Natalia did calisthenics and synchronized swimming from the age of five, but eventually chose the latter. Natalia Ishchenko is a five-time Olympic champion, 19-time world champion, and 12-time European champion. She is a Merited Master of Sports of Russia, a recipient of the Order of Honour and Order of Friendship. Natalia Ishchenko was awarded an Order of Merit in the Service of the Fatherland 4th Degree in 2012. Natalia currently holds office as an acting deputy premier of the Kaliningrad Region government.
TV host
Alexander Revva
Alexander Revva is an actor, showman, TV host and former member of a KVN team. Fame came to him as a resident actor on Comedy Сlub, where he has performed since 2006. Alexander hosted the show You're Funny! on NTV, sat on the jury of the First Channel shows Spitting Image and Say That Again!
Musician, People's Artist of Russia, producer of Turetsky Choir Art Group and SOPRANO, showman
Mikhail Turetsky
He studied at the A. Sveshnikov Choral College, after which he entered the conductor-choir department of the Gnesin State Musical and Pedagogical Institute, graduated with honors in 1985. He studied in graduate school and was engaged in symphonic conducting.

Over 27 years of creative activity, Turetsky Choir broke all records in popularity. SOPRANO - a unique women's project with no counterpart anywhere in the world.

In 2002 Mikhail Turetsky was awarded the title of Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation, and in 2010 - the title of People's Artist. In 2012 he was awarded the Order of Honour.
"Listen to your coach, not to some music, before the game"
Natalia Ishchenko
"I'll let my son do the Messi-style haircut"
Anastasia Myskina
paralympic swimmer
Olesya Vladykina
Olesya Vladykina was born in Moscow in 1988. She went to the Trud sports school for children and teens, where she trained in swimming. Olesya was in a terrible car accident in Thailand in 2008 and lost her left arm. Her spirit unbroken, Olesya was back in training only a month after checking out of the hospital. Less than six months later, she won a gold medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. Olesya Vladykina won three prizes at the 2012 Games in London: gold in 100-metre breast-stroke swimming, silver in 200-metre mixed swimming, and bronze in 100-metre backstroke swimming.
synchronized swimmer
Svetlana Romashina
Svetlana Romashina was born in Moscow, she was engaged in synchronised swimming since childhood. At the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, she won twice in a duet with Natalia Ishchenko (Kaliningrad ambassador) and in a group in synchronic competitions. Svetlana is an 18-time world champion and 10-time European champion.
TV host
Dmitry Guberniev
Dmitry Guberniev is one of the most popular TV show hosts in Russia. He has hosted many different shows and commentated a huge number of high-profile sports events since the late 1990s, including Olympic Games and world championships. Guberniev is perhaps best known as the "voice of biathlon," and not only in Russia. All top international biathletes know who Guberniev is. He was invited to contribute to a short documentary on biathlon. Guberniev was awarded an Order of Merit in the Service of the Fatherland 4th Degree in 2014.
synchronized swimmer
Maria Kiselyova
Maria Kiselyova has won Olympic gold three times with the Russian synchronized swimming team: in doubles as well as in group at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, and in group event at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. When Kiselyova retired from sports, she took a job on television. For her contribution to the promotion of physical education and sports, Maria Kiselyova was awarded an Order of Merit in the Service of the Fatherland 4th Degree in 2004.