200th Anniversary of U.S.-Russia Diplomatic Relations (1807-2007) US Department of State
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Bicentennial Partnerships: Sports

Hockey Players Sports Diplomacy for Mutual Understanding

Sports are a shared cultural passion that bring people together in athletic competition across the divisions of race, religion, and politics. Through sports, we see the proliferation of messages of international understanding, cultural tolerance and mutual respect.

Maria Sharapova From national teams to youth events, sports act as a bridge between the American and Russian people and cultures. We love the competition, we love the glory, and we love it when an underdog overcomes insurmountable odds. Few fans in the United States will ever forget the 1980 "Miracle on Ice," when the American men’s ice hockey team in the 1980 Olympic Winter Games beat the long-dominant and heavily favored Soviet Union. Or, when Maria Sharapova, the Russian tennis star, charmed New York and impressed the world when she won the U.S. Open Tennis Championship in 2006.

Bicentennial Spotlight: Let the Games Begin!

  • March: The 2007 Tyson American Cup. Russia will join 13 other countries and the USA in one of the world’s most prestigious gymnastic competitions. March 3, 2007 in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • April-May: The 2007 IIHF Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships Team USA travels to Russia for this 71st annual event. April 27 through May 13, 2007 in Moscow, Russia.
  • June 14-20: American Figure Skater Michelle Kwan, will tour Russia as a U.S. public diplomacy envoy with stops in Moscow, Volgograd and Elista.
  • July:The FIBA U21 Women’s World Basketball Championships Team USA travels to Russia to compete against the world. June 29 through July 8, 2007 in Moscow, Russia.
  • Ambassador Burns presents a trophy to Ron Bramlett (2nd place, 110 m Hurdles) during the Award Ceremony The Moscow Challenge U.S. Ambassador Burns joined approximately 3,500 U.S. and Russian sports fans to applaud the athletes competing in the "Moscow Challenge" at the Luzhniki Sport Arena recently. Amb. Burns noted that U.S. participation in the track-and-field tournament was a concrete demonstration of American and Russian partnership through sports. The "Russian Challenge" track-and-field tournament revives the tradition of conducting matches between the United States and Russia. The first tournament was held in 1958 after an "agreement in the field of culture, technique and education between the USSR and the USA" was signed in Washington. [Remarks] [Photos]

    The Department of State and Sports

    The U.S. Department of State is actively involved in promoting cultural understanding through sports. Numerous events and activities are planned around America’s and the world’s favorite pastimes. Read more about the United States’ commitment to sports diplomacy and SportsUnited, a new initiative promoting athletics and cultural understanding throughout the world.

    Bicentennial Partnerships reflect American and Russian cooperation in a range of areas as part of the U.S. Embassy Moscow's commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of U.S. - Russia Diplomatic Relations.

    U.S. Secretary Rice with Michelle Kwan, November 2006

    American Figure Skater Michele Kwan Visits Russia in June

    American figure skater Michelle Kwan will tour Russia June 14 – 20, 2007 as a U.S. public diplomacy envoy. Ms. Kwan will meet students and community nmembers in Moscow, Volgograd and Elista. The most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, Kwan has won an unprecedented 43 championships, including five World Championships, nine U.S. Championships, and two Olympic medals. She has taken a year off from figure skating and this fall began attending the University of Denver (DU) in Denver, Colorado, as a full-time student. In addition to her studies and duties associated with her official appointment as U.S. public diplomacy envoy, Kwan continues to perform in skating exhibitions, works on special projects and serves as a corporate spokesperson.



    Bryce Fisher, Patrick Kerney, and Max Starks IV, members of the Seahawks, Falcons, and Steelers U.S. Football teams with Russian students in Moscow.

    America's Athletes in Russia: NFL Football Stars Share Strategy with Young Players

    American professional football players from the Seahawks, Falcons, and Steelers U.S. Football teams met with Russian students and coaches from two Moscow-based American football youth teams at the Novogorsk Sports Training Facility. The visiting athletes described American football and engaged in a lively exchange on sports. They also demonstrated proper technique for warm ups, tackles, gave diet and training tips, and demonstrated defensive tactics. U.S. players stressed the value of sports in building mutual understanding and registered their surprise and delight that a uniquely American sport was well-received in Russia.



    Some 450 people from Russia's sports, political, and arts worlds attended a reception hosted by Ambassador Burns at Spaso House in honor of the NBA. Special guest included NBA Commissioner David Stern, the Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team, basketball legends Elgin Baylor and Rick Barry, and WNBA star Taj McWilliams-Franklin.

    American Athletes in Russia: NBA Players Do Basketball and Community Service in Moscow

    In October 2006, the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers came to Moscow as part of the NBA's five-city/five-team "Europe Live" tour -- a first such visit by an NBA team to Russia. In addition to conducting its training camp and playing games against Russian basketball giants CSKA and Khimki, the Clippers teamed up with their Russian counterparts to dedicate a new reading and learning center at a local orphanage, conduct a basketball clinic for local youngsters, and visit children at the Institute for Pediatric Oncology.