The new Soviet state established sport and physical culture as one of the main points of its ideology. “A healthy spirit requires a healthy body,” Soviet official Kliment Voroshilov used to say. From childhood, Soviet kids had to do exercises, while physical education classes were obligatory in all schools and universities. Students had to pass special tests to match the special normatives that proved one was “ready for labor and defense”.
Ice skating was another great love of Soviet people. Are you curious why Russians are so good at skating? Read here.
Kids were to foster the competitive spirit, so there were lots of tournaments between schools in different sports: from group disciplines such as football and basketball to running, gymnastics, swimming and winter sports we’ve already mentioned.
Children had to climb the rope within the school program of physical education, not everyone was keen on this type of exercise.
The Soviet state emphasised the importance of artistic gymnastics. School lessons of physical culture included exercises on parallel bars, pommel horse and horizontal bars. While there was a strong training school of the professional gymnasts.
As a part of amateur performances for school kids, forming complicated compositions quickly and synchronously was common.
The variety of mass gymnastics etudes was a field of art for Soviet avant garde photographers.
Every year, the Red Square held huge Physical Culture Parades. Athletes marched with flags and banners across the square in front of the Soviet leaders who watched the show from the Lenin’s mausoleum.
Physical Culture Parades are also known for the complicated figures that participants build from their own bodies. Spectacular - and a hard work was needed to prepare the show, as everything should have been just perfect.
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