Ice hockey forward, a two-time world champion and Sochi 2014 Ambassador
Born on September 17, 1985 in Moscow, Russia. The son of two athletes, Alex’s father, Mikhail a former professional soccer player, and, his mother, Tatyana a Russian basketball legend and two time Olympic gold medalist. It became apparent at an early age Alex had inherited his parent’s passion for sports; In a Soviet toy store at the age of two Alex picked up a hockey stick and helmet and refused to let go. He started playing organized hockey at the age of seven. At one time, Alex almost quit hockey because his parents were unable to transport him to the hockey rink on a daily basis. Alex’s older brother Sergei recognized Alex’s talent and unique passion for the game and insisted on taking him to the rink so he could continue to play. Years later, in an event that would change Alex forever, Sergei tragically died in a car accident. Alex still credits his late older brother for pushing him to continue to play hockey and thinks about him daily. To this day, when Alex scores, he will often kiss his glove and point to the sky in a salute to his brother Sergei. Alex’s renewed commitment to the sport paid dividends and at the age of 16 he began playing professionally for the Russian hockey power, Dynamo Moscow. By the time he was 18, Alex was named the Superleague’s Best Left Winger and became the youngest player to lead the team in scoring in the rich history of the Dynamo Moscow organization. Alex officially arrived on the international stage when he was selected to play for Russia at the 2003 World Junior Hockey Championships. Alex scored a tournament leading 6 goals to help the Russians capture gold. Alex’s tournament success turned a lot of heads in the NHL circles as he approached draft eligibility. Alex’s lifelong dream of playing in the NHL became a reality when the Washington Capitals selected him as the first overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Alex would be forced to wait a season to start his NHL career as a league-wide lockout erased the 2004-2005 season. On October 5, 2005 Alex played his first NHL game tallying two goals in a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alex led 2005-2006 NHL rookies in goals, points, power-play goals, and shots. He finished third overall in the NHL in scoring and tied for third in goals. He was also named to the NHL First All-Star Team, the first rookie to receive the honor in 15 years. Alex received the Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year) in recognition of his outstanding rookie season. In 2006, Alex fulfilled another life-long dream in representing his country at his first Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. Although Russia came away from the games without a medal, Ovechkin scored 5 goals in the tournament and was named to the all-tournament team. Despite all of his personal accolades, Alex was still discontent as he had yet to play a post-season game with the Captials entering the 2007-2008 NHL season. The Caps struggled early and were sitting in last place in their conference in mid November. In an attempt to salvage the season, Capitals management brought in a new coach in AHL journeyman, Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau led Alex and the Capitals to the largest single season comeback in NHL history as the Caps clinched a playoff berth (and South East Division) with a win in the final game of their regular season. The Caps went on to lose to the Philadelphia Flyers in 7 games, but Alex saw it as a great learning experience for himself and his young teammates. The Capitals’ 2007-2008 campaign was also highlighted by Alex’s personal accomplishments. Alex’s league leading 65 goals and 112 points allowed him to become the first player in NHL history to capture the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP), the Lester B. Pearson Award (MVP as voted by players), the Maurice Richard Trophy (most goals) and the Art Ross Trophy (most points) all in a single season. Alex’s 2008 hockey season came to a fantastic finish, as he was able to join Russia at IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships. Alex led Russia to capture the gold medal, finishing with 12 points (six goals, six assists) in nine games. He was selected to the Tournament All-Star Team.
“Our country will proudly host the Winter Games for the first time in 2014 in Sochi. This is a great opportunity to celebrate both Russia’s sporting legacy and to back our Olympic athletes, who will show their talent to the world and inspire future generations.”