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 wrestling, athletics, weightlifting, and cross-country skiing.[1]


Athletics is popular in Estonia, shown by number of medals won 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 and 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.


Basketball is a notable sport in Estonia, and has often been called the "national sport of Estonia".[2] Estonia national basketball team participated in 1936 Summer Olympics and have appeared in EuroBasket six times. They had twice finished EuroBasket on 5th place before Soviet occupation. Many Estonian players also represented and won medals with the Soviet team. After regaining independence, Estonia finished Eurobasket 6th in 1993. The domestic top-tier basketball championship is called the Korvpalli Meistriliiga. BC Kalev/Cramo has the best results in the recent years, while University of Tartu team has won the league a record 26 times. Estonian clubs also participate in European and regional competitions.

Beach volleyball

Estonia featured national teams in beach volleyball that competed at the 2018–2020 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup in both the women's and the men's sections.[3]


The Estonia Cricket Association (ECA) was formed in 2007 and became members of the International Cricket Council in 2008.[4] The ECA runs Men's and Women's leagues, playing 40-40, T20 and Super 8's competitions. It has member clubs in Tallinn and Tartu. Estonia is also home to a unique variant of the game in Ice cricket. The Ice Cricket World Championship was held annually in the Estonian city of Tallinn played upon the surface of a frozen lake.


Disc golf

Main article: Disc golf in Estonia

2022 Women's Professional Disc Golf Champion, Kristin Tattar still resides in her hometown of Pärnu.


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 the most total medals for Estonia. Nikolai Novosjolov became the world champion in 2010 and 2013. At 2013 Championships Julia Beljajeva also won the gold medal. At the 2018 European Championships Estonian women took a triple win in the individual épée. Both women's and men's épée teams have won championship medals. Women's épée team became the Olympic champions at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Estonia has won 17 World Fencing Championships medals and several European Fencing Championships medals.


Estonia men's national floorball team has been successful at the World Championships with best result 7th and multiple 8th places.


Main article: Football in Estonia

Football is one of the most popular sports in Estonia by number of active players, although nothing special has been achieved. Estonia advanced to the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying play-offs.

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. She was the gold medal favorite for the women's slopestyle event in 2018 Winter Olympics, but missed competing in the Games because of a knee injury.[5] Her later career has not been so successful, but she managed to win bronze medal at the 2022 Olympics

Ice hockey

See also: List of ice hockey teams in Estonia

Ice hockey in Estonia is governed by the Estonian Ice Hockey Association[6] (Eesti Jäähokiliit).[7] The top-tier league of men's ice hockey in Estonia is the Meistriliiga (also known as Coolbet Hokiliiga for sponsorship reasons). The top-tier league of women's ice hockey in Estonia is the Naiste Hokiliiga.


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



Marko Asmer driving Sauber F1.06 car at Goodwood Festival of Speed


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

Rallying is one of the most popular sport in Estonia. It has a long history in Estonia since the Soviet time, when half of the rally drivers of Soviet Union Rally Team were from Estonia. Every year WRC Rally Estonia attracts thousands of rally fans to watch worlds best drivers competing.


Rowing is a popular sport in Estonia. One reason is Jüri Jaanson, but there are also other well-known rowers in Estonia. Between 2004 and 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.

Tõnu Endrekson, Andrei Jämsä, Allar Raja and Kaspar Taimsoo have also won an Olympic medal.


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 amongst the oldest, longest, and biggest cross-country ski races in the world.

In 1999 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



Kaia Kanepi at the 2011 French Open



Weightlifting was one of the most successful field of sport for Estonia in the past. Alfred Neuland competed in the 1920 and 1924 Olympics and won a gold and a silver medal, respectively, becoming the first Olympic gold medalist from Estonia. Alfred Schmidt was a featherweight weightlifter who won a silver medal at the 1920 Summer Olympics. Arnold Luhaäär competed in the 1928 and 1936 Olympics and won a silver and a bronze medal, respectively. Jaan Talts won a silver medal in weightlifting for the Soviet Union at the 1968 Olympic games and a gold medal at the 1972 Olympic games.


Wrestling was the most successful and also very popular Olympic event for Estonia between 1920 and 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 120 kg. Nabi continued his great career winning second gold medal at 2013 World Championships and bronze medal at 2014 World Championships.

Other sports

International championships hosted by Estonia

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (September 2023)
Year Championship Venue(es)
1980 Summer Olympics Sailing Regatta Tallinn
2006 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship Division B Tallinn
2010 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship Division B Tallinn
2012 UEFA European Under-19 Championship Tallinn, Haapsalu, Rakvere
2013 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship Tallinn
2018 Biathlon Junior World Championships Otepää
2018 UEFA Super Cup Tallinn
2021 European Volleyball Championship Tallinn (co-host)
2023 UEFA Women's Under-17 Championship Tallinn
2023 Women's European Volleyball Championship Tallinn (co-host)


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 – [1]
  2. ^ Lonely Planet Eastern Europe (9 ed.). Lonely Planet. 2007. p. 319. ISBN 9781741044768.
  3. ^ "Continental Cup Finals start in Africa". FIVB. 22 June 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  4. ^ "International Cricket Council". Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Injury robs Pyeongchang of teen slopestyle phenom Sildaru". Reuters. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Ice Hockey in Estonia". National Teams of Ice Hockey. Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Eesti Jäähokiliit". Eesti Jäähokiliit (in Estonian). Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  8. ^ "Female Tennis Players | WTA Tennis".