The Russian Olympians Foundation Charity Organization
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Support of the Olympic Movement in Russia

In pre-revolutionary Russia, the Olympic movement was born as an initiative of individuals, and barely having achieved initial success, gained the support of the throne.

During the years of Soviet development of sports, especially professional sports, it become an important state doctrine, while the successes of athletes at the world championships and the Olympic Games - the argument of ideological promotion.

In modern democratic Russia, together with state support of sports, in order to maintain the prestige of the country's sports, there came an opportunity to use the resources of patrons, affairs which are so rich in our history.

The first national sports federations were formed in pre-revolutionary Russia shortly after the abolition of serfdom. While at the turn of the XIX and XX centuries, sports did not played a significant role in society, still, in the country there were private patrons, already aware of its social importance and investing considerable financial and organizational efforts for its promotion and support. Among these were manufacturers, brothers, Sergei and Savva Morozov, Chairman of the Moscow Merchant Bank, G.A. Kprestovnik, Prince P.D. Lvov, a member of the State Duma N.A. Gizhitski, Prince P. G. Volkonsky, Baron M.S. Kister and other philanthropists.

However, in the first three Olympic games of our time (1896, 1900 and 1904), Russia did not take part – the funds, collected by enthusiasts, were not enough to ensure the participation of the Russian national team in the Olympics.

It was only in 1908, that Russian sent its first group of six athletes to the Games in London. One of them - a figure skater, Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin, became the first Olympic champion of the national sport, showing the best result in the performance of specific figures; two more - the fighters, Nikolai Orlov and Alexei Petrov won the silver medals. The emotional lift, caused in the community by the event, forced the authorities to appreciate the importance of sporting victories for enhancing the prestige of the country.

Czar Nicholas II took under his oversight the training of the Russian team for the next Olympic Games, and in 1912 there were 170 Russian athletes at the Olympics.

After October 1917, Russia and then the Soviet Union, were out of the Olympic movement for political reasons. Only in 1951 did our athletes return to the Olympic family, taking part in the Olympic Games XV in Helsinki. The debut was a success: 22 gold medals, 30 silver and 19 bronze medals.

The Soviet Union gave high performance sports more attention, which  reflected in the number of victories. There were 473 gold, 376 silver and 355 bronze medals won, total, under the flag of USSR.

In 1994, Russian athletes caught the winning torch. Performing for the first time at the XVII Olympic Winter Games as an independent team, they won 11 gold medals in Lillehammer - more than any other team of the 69 countries participating in the Games.

After the Athens Olympics in 2004, the need for additional funding for sports become apparent to the community, and a number of leading Russian businessmen offered the state assistance to take care of high performance Russian sports.

Thus, in 2005, the United Nations declared it the "Year of World Sports", and with the support of the Administration of the President and Government in Russia, there appeared the charitable, non-profit organization "The Russian Olympians Foundation".

Declaring 2006 the "Year of Charity in Russia," Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, thanked the business community and representatives of the government for the initiative of the Foundation and hoped that future actions will contribute towards the development of Russian sports and further success for our athletes in conquering new positions in Olympic and world championships.

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