Game, set and match: 5 Russian sporting marriages

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. Source: Getty Images

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. Source: Getty Images

Russian Sochi Olympic figure skating pairs champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov tied the knot on Aug. 18, continuing a long tradition of sporting marriages. Read about their story – and other notable couples in Russian sports.

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov

The names of Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov became known around the world during the Winter Olympics in Sochi – the figure skaters, who started skating together after the 2010 event in Vancouver, managed to become Olympic champions in just four years.

After the triumph in Sochi, the two admitted that they were a pair not only on the ice, but in life. A year later they celebrated their engagement, and the wedding followed soon after. The ceremony in Moscow was attended by some of their colleagues in sports – another Sochi champion, Adelina Sotnikova, and the Swiss skater Stephane Lambiel.


Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov

Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov. Source: Reuters

Marriages between skaters are not uncommon, since the partners spend a lot of time with each other. After these joint experiences, many cannot imagine life without each other – and this is just what happened to the 2000 world champions, Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov.

The pair have admitted that they have been seeing each other since the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. However, the couple are in no hurry to formalize their relationship.


Yevgeniya Kanayeva and Igor Musatov

Yevgeniya Kanayeva and Igor Musatov. Source: RIA Novosti/Vladimir Pesnya;RIA Novosti/Vladimir Fedorenko

Igor Musatov, a forward for the Moscow Region-based hockey club Vityaz, has long been considered the Russian ice hockey’s enfant terrible; the Russian media have published plenty of scandalous stories about his involvement in fights and drunken brawls.

However, since the hockey player married Yevgeniya Kanayeva, a two-time Olympic champion in rhythmic gymnastics, in 2013, his name has appeared only in the context of sports.


Elena Dementieva and Maxim Afinogenov

Elena Dementieva and Maxim Afinogenov. Source: RIA Novosti/Vladimir Fedorenko

The union of tennis star Elena Dementieva and hockey player Maxim Afinogenov is one of the most stellar in Russian sports. Dementieva is a former world No. 3 and a Roland Garros and U.S. Open finalist, while Afinogenov, who played for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabers for 10 years, is a world champion.

The couple first met at Roland Garros in Paris in 2004.

When Maxim and friends invited the tennis player to join them, she refused.

“Of course, I was outraged then,” Elena recalled in an interview with the Russian newspaper Argumenty i Fakty.

“Young people are sitting in the tennis stadium, drinking wine, playing cards – and ask me to join them. I do not accept such behavior! For me, Roland Garros is a holy place. But Max would come to all my games in Paris, he encouraged and supported me. And after the tournament ... we were able to get to know each other better.” The couple got married in 2011.


Yelena Isinbayeva and Nikita Petinov

Nikita Petinov and Yelena Isinbayeva. Source: RIA Novosti/Iliya Pitalev/Archive Press Service

When in August 2013, after the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, the renowned pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva announced her pregnancy, fans could only guess at the identity of the Russian champion’s beau.

It turned out that Isinbayeva's partner was another member of the Russian team – javelin thrower Nikita Petinov. The couple got married in December 2014.

The young athlete – the age difference between the two is eight years – cannot yet boast the achievements of his famous wife, but this does not prevent the pair from enjoying life together.

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