Latvia is one of those Northern European countries that simply loves football. Football is very popular in the country since their first taste of independence in 1991. In 2004, the Latvian national football team was in the final stage of the European Football Championships lead by Māris Verpakovskis. Football is by far the most popular sport in Latvia closely followed by ice hockey.
Ice hockey is one of the most watched sports in Latvia with a professional league that was established in 1931. There are several amateur leagues in the country that serves as the breeding ground for future professional players.
The national team of Latvia has participated in various international ice hockey competitions such as several World Championships and of course the Winter Olympic Games. Latvia has produced ice hockey greats such as Helmuts Balderis, the all-time scoring record holder with 333 goals among all Latvian forwards and lead the national team in three World Championships (1978, 1979 and 1983).
In 1940 the nation was occupied by the Soviet Union, with Latvian athletes competing for the Soviet Union at the Olympics between 1952 and 1988. Latvia again gained independence in 1991.
Basketball is also quite popular in Latvia. Their national team won the European Championships in 1935. The country also hosted the 1937 championships and 4 Latvian players Valdis Muižnieks, Jānis Krūmiņš, Maigonis Valdmanis and Cēzars Ozers, were part of the 1960 Soviet team that played in the Summer Olympics where they took the silver medal.
Below are details of sports, sporting events and sports people related to Latvia. Is there something missing? If you know of something that should be listed here, please let us know.
Popular sports of Latvia
- Football (Soccer), ice hockey, basketball,
Traditional or Regional Sports
- Novuss — a national sport in Latvia, with similarities to carrom and pocket billiards. Played on a 1 meter square wooden board with pockets in each corner. A small cue stick is used to strike a puck to hit small discs into the pockets.
Latvia Sporting Success
Great athletes from Latvia
- Helmuts Balderis (ice hockey)
Latvia Sports trivia
Latvia at major events
Past sporting events hosted in Latvia
- 1937 European basketball championships, Riga
- 2006 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, Riga
- 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, Riga
Upcoming sporting events in Latvia
- 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, Riga