Sport in Estonia

Sport plays an important role in Estonian culture. Estonia first competed as a nation at the 1920 Summer Olympics, although the National Olympic Committee was established in 1923. Estonian athletes took part at every Olympic Games until the country was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. The 1980 Summer Olympics sailing regatta was held in the capital city Tallinn. Estonia has won most of its Olympic medals in weightlifting, wrestling, and cross-country skiing.[1]


The national team[2] competes in Division B of the Bandy World Championships.[3]


The Estonia national basketball team was at the 1936 Summer Olympics. They have twice finished FIBA EuroBasket on 5th place. Estonia also qualified to EuroBasket 2015, held in Ukraine.

Beach volleyball


Estonia is also home to a unique variant of the game in Ice Cricket. The Ice Cricket World Championship is held annually in the Estonian city of Tallinn and is played upon the surface of a frozen lake. These tournaments are now sponsored by Bulmers Original Cider, Scottish & Newcastle, and they last from January until late March. In 2007, saw the formation of the Estonia Cricket Association. The league consists of four Tallinn based teams who compete in a round robin format. Players who are members of the Estonian Cricket Association are eligible to be selected for the national cricket team.



Épée Fencing has been very successful for Estonia in the past few decades. Oksana Jermakova became the first fencing World Champion for Estonia winning Individual Épée in 1993. Irina Embrich has won some medals in the past years. Nikolai Novosjolov became the world champion in 2010 and 2013. At 2013 Championships Julia Beljajeva also won the gold medal. Both team épée, women's and men's, have won championship medals.

Estonia has won 14 World Fencing Championships medals and several European Fencing Championships medals.


Floorball is gaining popularity in Estonia, because of some recent success of the men's national team. The Estonia national floorball team finished the 2008 World Championships in 8th place, reached Quarterfinals in 2010, finished the 2012 World Championships in 9th place and 2014 World Championships in 8th place.


Main article: Football in Estonia

Football is one of the most popular sports in Estonia, although no minor honour has been achieved. Estonia advanced to the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying play-offs against the Republic of Ireland.

Formula racing

Freestyle skiing

Kelly Sildaru won women's slopestyle at 2015 Dew tour. At just 13 years old, Kelly Sildaru might be the smallest competitor in the field, but she brought the biggest run of the contest, spinning all four directions and showcasing technicality on the rails in the process. On the jumps, Kelly landed a switch right 900, right corked 720, switch left 900 and left 720, and the judges rewarded her with a 90.80 to put her into 1st place.

Kelly won Gold in the slopestyle event in the 2016 Winter X Games beating Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen. With this win, at age 13, Kelly became the youngest gold medalist to date at an X Games winter event.

Ice hockey

The Estonia men's national ice hockey team is currently ranked 29th in the world.


Judo is one of the most successful field of sport for Estonia. Since 1996, Estonia has won several medals in major international competitions.



Markko Märtin has claimed 5 victories and 101 stage wins in his WRC career.


Rowing is a pretty popular sport in Estonia. One reason is Jüri Jaanson, but there are also other well-known rowers in Estonia. Between 2004–2009, Estonia scored at least one medal in major international competition in every year: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. After six years Estonia won bronze medal in 2015

Rugby union


Twin brothers Tõnu Tõniste and Toomas Tõniste competed in four consecutive Summer Olympics, starting in 1988. They won a silver and a bronze medal in the Men's 470 Class, for the Soviet Union (silver, 1988) and for Estonia (bronze, 1992).


Skiing is very popular in Estonia. Otepää is a popular skiing resort. Otepää is also known as the "winter capital" of Estonia (in contrast to the "summer capital" Pärnu). It is also the annual Cross-country skiing World Cup event. The 2011 Nordic Junior World Ski Championships was held in Otepää also.

In 2000, Raul Olle won Vasaloppet, which is considered as one of the oldest, one of the longest, and in popular consideration the biggest cross-country ski race in the world.

In 1999, when Estonian skiing found success at international level, winning medals at World Championships. Estonia has won 4 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medal at the Winter Olympic Games.

Andrus Veerpalu, Kristina Šmigun-Vähi and Jaak Mae are some of the most popular athletes in Estonia.

Speed skating

The same year he became the European Allround Champion and received the Oscar Mathisen Award.



Track and field

Track and field is gaining popularity in Estonia, shown by some of the recent success in this field of sport. Jüri Lossmann came in second on the marathon at the 1920 Olympic Games. Aleksander Klumberg won the bronze medal in 1924 in the men's decathlon competition. Between 2000–2009, Estonia scored at least one medal in major international competition in every year: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Before that, Erki Nool won the gold medal in 1998.



Weightlifting was one of the most successful field of sport for Estonia in the past.


Wrestling was the most successful and also very popular Olympic event for Estonia between 1920–1936. In 2006, Heiki Nabi became the first amateur wrestling World Champion for Estonia. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Nabi won the silver medal in the Men's Greco-Roman 120kg. Nabi continued his great career winning second gold medal at 2013 World Championships and bronze medal at 2014 World Championships.

Other sports

Gallery of famous Estonian sportspeople

See also


  1. Xinhua News Agency – Ethiopian makes Winter Olympic history, Russian Pyleva banned – By sportswriter Xie Peilin – 18 February 2006 –
  2. Picture of the national bandy team
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