Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Half of Russians (52%) somehow followed the Olympic Games in Tokyo. At the same time 10% watched the Games systematically and kept up with all the events. 48% of Russians have not followed the Games whatsoever. 

*in 2008 and 2012 the question was as follows: “Do you watch the TV broadcasts of the Olympic Games…” 

Compared to 2016 the interest dropped – back then 85% followed the Games one way or another (52% in 2021).

Senior population was more interested in the Games: among the respondents of 55 years and older, 62% followed the Games in some way. Among the 18-24-year-olds 63% were not interested in the Olympics at all.

Generally Russian people like to watch the Olympic broadcasts because they can root for Russian athletes (43%). Another 19% are attracted by the beauty of sports, 14% like the excitement of sports, 12% worry about the global image of Russia. 

Year after year the main reasons why Russian people watch the Olympics do not change.

The majority of Russians (82%) view the national team’s results as successful. 21% of the respondents even say that they are “”extremely successful” 

The positive estimates of the Russian national team’s performance have increased significantly over the past decades. In 2008 only 30% of people considered the Russian athletes’ performance successful, in 2012 the number changed to 55%, in 2016 and 2021 it was 83% and 82% respectively. The rate of negative opinions has been decreasing: from 61% in 2008 to 15% in 2021. 

The majority of Russians believe that Russian athletes were not judged fairly at the Olympics. Moreover, 17% are sure that the judgement was completely biased. Only 26% of Russians share the opinion that the judges were fair in their evaluations. The conviction that Russian athletes are being evaluated unfairly grows stronger every Olympics. In 2012 this idea was supported by 34% of respondents, in 2016 the number grew to 46%, in 2021 – 70% thought so.  

The point of view that Russian athletes are evaluated unfairly is peculiar to representatives of the older generation: 76% in the group of 55 years and older. Among respondents aged 18-24, 58% believe that Russian athletes are evaluated unfairly, 42% think that everything is fair.

In general, the most memorable events of these Olympics for Russians were: rhythmic gymnastics and events related to the Averin sisters’ performance (25%), gymnastics (17%) and synchronized swimming (12%). 


This survey was conducted August 19 – 26 2021, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1619 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the total number of participants along with data from previous surveys.

The statistical error of these studies for a sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators around 50%

2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%

2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%

1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

The ANO Levada Center has been included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents.



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