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Since ancient times, Ukrainians were skillful archers, horsemen and wrestlers. In the late XIX century European sports and games were introduced; football and wrestling became the most popular.

Physical exercises have long been an everyday occurrence for Ukrainians. Widely popular were the festive folk games, riding, swimming, running, rowing, and weight-lifting.

Establishment of the sports organizations on the Ukrainian land was started in the second half of the 19th century. These were the yacht-clubs, tennis clubs, athletic and gymnastic associations. Even early in the 20th century, the results of some Ukrainian sportsmen did not yield to those of the European sportsmen. The successful performance of the repeat-winner at international wrestling competitions is Ivan Piddubni, who is well known throughout the world.

Kyiv's famous soccer team "Dynamo" won the European Cup Holder's Cup twice, in 1975 and 1985. Oleg Blokhin and Igor Byelanov were named Europe's best soccer players.

The "Spartak" handball team from Kyiv, led by Senior Coach Ihor Turchyn has won 13 European Champion's Cups. Zinaida Turchyna and Larysa Karlova were named best players in the World and European Championships several times.

The Ukrainian school of gymnastics is recognized the world over. Its representatives Iryna Deriuhina, Oleksandra Tymoshenko, Oksana Skaldina (and others) have won world and European championships. Larysa Latynina has the longest history of records in the Olympic Games: 18 medals, including 9 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze.
Valeriy Borzov, the famous sprinter, won 2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals at the 20th and 21st Olympic Games.Serhiy Bubka, eight times world champion in the pole vault and Olympic champion, holds 35 world records. He has repeatedly won the Grand Prix world series and been named World's Best Athlete.

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