Everyone to Skis!
Skiing in Russia and the Rise of Soviet Biathlon
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Northern Illinois University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Over the course of four decades, I have been privileged to study with outstanding linguists. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge in particular the influence of Elizabeth McKee; Professors Sylvia Brown and William Moran (University of Michigan); Professors Anthony Raubitschek and T....
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Biathlon, that unlikely combination of cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship, was a woefully underfinanced and neglected sport throughout North America in 1978, the first year I went to the United States Olympic Training Center in Squaw Valley, California. Always on...
1—Long Boards in the Long Nineteenth Century
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Less than a year before the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd, Vladimir Lenin offered this revolutionary advice to his mistress and fellow conspirator, the French socialist-feminist Inessa Armand: “Do you ski? Do it without fail! Learn how and set off for the mountains—you...
2—The First World War to NEP
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The F irst World War changed the map of Europe and set the stage for hostilities two decades later that resulted in Cold War polarization and, in the realm of sports, brought politics directly into the Olympic Games. Even more than Western Europe, the Great War transformed Russia...
3—Stalin and the Inter-War Years
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It is no coincidence that two important historians of the Soviet Union chose the same excerpt from Joseph Stalin’s 1929 essay “A Year of Great Change” to introduce their respective chapters on his twenty-fouryear tenure: “We are advancing full steam ahead along the road of industrialization...
4—The Winter War and the Great Patriotic War,1939–1945
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In early January 1940 , a dispatch from James Aldridge, war correspondent for the New York Times covering the Soviet invasion of Finland, detailed a gruesome landscape along the forest roads just west of the Russian border. As he accompanied an advancing ski patrol in pursuit of...
5—Post-War Soviet Sports and the Birth of Biathlon [Includes Image Plates]
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The Soviet Union paid a terrible price for the Allied victory in World War II, including the devastation of tens of thousands of cities and villages and the loss of 27,000,000 citizens. The conflagration informed virtually every aspect of Soviet life in the aftermath. As historian Elena...
6—Skiing, Shooting and Politics, 1960 to 1962
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Dizzy with success , to appropriate Stalin’s famous maxim, the Soviets reveled in the prospect of repeating their 1956 Olympic performance in Squaw Valley, California, four years later.1 What better propaganda bonus than to dominate the Winter Games again—this time on the...
7—The Triumph of Soviet Biathlon, 1963 to 1966
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Early in 19 3 , Viktor Viktorov, Ogonek’s die-hard ski enthusiast, reminisced about the golden glory days of the Soviet Union at the 1956 Cortina Olympics in comparison to the National Team’s more recent world championship showing in Poland: “Bronze medals,” he grumbled...
8—The Era of Aleksandr Tikhonov
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At the opening event of the 2010 United States Summer National Biathlon Championships in Seattle, Washington, two rifles stood side by side on a gun-rack. Each bore a distinctive white sticker with “Alexander Tikhonov & MA” embossed in a black Latin-letter font. One rifleowner...
9—Minsk: Thirteenth Biathlon World Championships, 1974
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In late February 1974, the Soviet Union’s decades-long drive for recognition as a major ski power soared to a new level when two skiers from the USSR placed first and third in the junior men’s 15-kilometer biathlon, winning the first medals ever awarded at an international world championship ski race...
10—The Fifteenth Winter Olympic Games: Calgary, Canada, 1988
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The Norwegian delegation’s team leader offered a few words of solace to readers of Sovetskaia Belorussiia as the world’s biathletes departed Minsk in 1974: “The ‘reshuffle’ in biathlon is a natural phenomenon,” he proposed. “Every sportsman, every team alternates between ‘peaks’ and ‘valleys.’ So...
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Just three months after the closing ceremonies at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, President of the United States Ronald Reagan received a standing ovation as he entered Moscow State University’s main auditorium. He was in the Soviet Union at the behest of Mikhail Gorbachev for a series of...
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Page Count: 424
Illustrations: 13 halftones
Publication Year: 2013