The Bulgarian society has always been connected to sport. There are historical facts that there were competitions held in the Bulgarian lands back in the Middle ages. Bulgarians were strong horse riders, athletes and wrestlers.
A number of Bulgarian athletes have won fame for our country during the years. A large part of them set standards in sports such as weightlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, sports gymnastics, volleyball, athletics, martial arts, boxing, wrestling, sport shooting and many more.
• Wrestling - Bulgarian wrestlers are regular competitors in all competitions – Olympic games, European and World championships. Bulgarians have won 16 Olympic gold medals and more than 600 medals from European and World championships. There are 93 wrestling clubs in Bulgaria and that sport is very popular here. Our most famous wrestlers from recent years are:
Serafim Bliznakov,Iavor Ianakiev, Kiril Terziev and others.
•Volleyball – Volleyball is the most successful Bulgarian team sport. In the last 10 years The Bulgarian national volleyball team is part of every big volleyball competition on the planet – something more, our team is usually one of the medalists. We won matches against every other top team , but we still haven’t won a big competition. Volleyball receives huge interest in Bulgaria. A lot of people watch it live and many more watch volleyball on TV. Our most famous players are Matei Kaziyski ,Plamen Konstantinov, Andrei Jekov, Evgeni Ivanov and many more. Our top players also play for the best vollryball clubs in the World.
•Rhythmic gymnastics/Art gymnastics - Art gymnastics is one of the most popular sports engaging Bulgarian girls and women. More than half a century tradition is the fundament Bulgarian rhythmic gymnastics stepped on, to build its notorious position world widely. Bulgarian “golden girls” have won hundreds of medals during the years. Here are the best of them :
1969, 1971, 1973 Maria Gigova - Medals: 13 (9 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze)
1981 Anelia Ralenkova - Medals: 22 (12 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze)
1983, 1985 Diliana Georguieva - Medals: 12 (9 gold, 3 bronze)
1987 - Bianka Panova - Medals: 21 (15 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze)
1993, 1994, 1995 Maria Petrova - Medals: 28 (13 gold, 9 silver, 6 bronze)
1980 Iliana Raeva - Medals: 19 (5 gold, 8 silver, 6 bronze)
1982 Anelia Ralenkova - Medals: 22 (12 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze)
1984 Anelia Ralenkova - Medals: 22 (12 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze)
1986 Lili Ignatova - Medals: 33 (19 gold, 12 silver, 2 bronze)
1986 Bianka Panova - Medals: 21 (15 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze)
1988 Adriana Dounavska - Medals: 15 (7 gold, 6 silver, 2 bronze)
1988 Elizabeth Koleva - Medals: 5 ( 2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze)
1990 Yulia Baytcheva - Medals: 13 (2 gold, 4 silver, 7 bronze)
2001 Simona Peytcheva - Medals: 5 (3 gold, 2 silver)
• Sports gymnastics - Gymnastics is Bulgaria's first Olympic sport. The first Bulgarian gymnast, who took part in the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, is Charles Shampoff. Velik Kapsazov is the first to win an Olympic medal – bronze (rings), and Stoyan Delchev is the first Olympic champion of Bulgarian gymnastics. In Moscow 1980 he wins gold on the rings and bronze in the all-round competition.
A famous Bulgarian gymnast from recent years is Jordan Jovchev.
He has won many medals for our country from Olympic games and world championships.
•Weightlifting – Bulgaria was always famous with its weightlifters . Before 2003 Bulgarian weightlifters won medals on almost every big weightlifting and set many world records on championships including the Olympic games, but after 2003 Almost all Bulgarians are caught using prohibited substances and banned from entering any competitions for many years.
•Sports Shooting – we don’t have many sporting shooters ,but Bulgaria’s most famous competitor is Maria Grozdeva, winner of numerous European and world titles, and Olympic champion in the women's sport pistol. Holder of an Olympic and European record in the air pistol.
Tanyo Kirqkov is another very famous Bulgarian shooter. He has won many prizes and he has won two Olympic gold medals from Seul,1988 and from Sydney,2000.
•Athletics – Bulgaria hasn’t got huge traditions in Athletics ,but there are some disciplines like high jump and triple jump where Bulgarians won Olympic gold. Our most successful athlete is Stefka Kostadinova . She has won many high jump titles but her biggest success was at the Olympic games in Atlanta,1996.She won the gold and set up a new world record, which hasn’t been beaten yet.
Tereza Marinova won the triple jump Olympic gold in Sydney,2000.