Thematic album for Winter Sports Day in Russia

Another holiday directly linked to sport emerged in the Russian Federation in 2015. The Russian government and the Olympic Committee of Russia initiated it.
Winter Sports Day is celebrated annually on the first weekend after the 7th of February -- a symbolic date for the Russian people, since the Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi were launched on that day. 
Winter Sports Day is a nationwide celebration of physical activity, sports and healthy living. As a part of celebration, various sports events are held in many cities across the country. First and foremost are the traditional "Russian ski track" competitions, various winter tournaments and theatrical performances on snow slopes, ice rinks and arenas (figure skating, ice hockey, speed skating). That is the way of the world, the history of winter sports is inextricably linked to the way of life of northern peoples. For example, medieval Norwegians used pulks to attack enemy tribes unexpectedly by schussing – that was how tobogganing emerged. Finno-Ugric tribes were the first skaters, since they considered that it was much easier to move around on skates than on foot. Skates have been known since the Bronze Age. They were originally made from animal bones, as archaeological finds in the territory of Staraya Ladoga, Novgorod and Pskov testify. Hence, the history of skating in Russia began in the era of Peter the Great. The tsar borrowed the idea of competitive skating from the Dutch. After the czar's death, interest in skating dried up. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that skating came back. In 1864, the first skating club was founded in St. Petersburg. Moreover, a semblance of modern ice hockey - albeit with a ball - was known to our ancestors since the 10th century. In different regions the game was called differently; the most renowned names were "Klushkovanie", "Svinka", "Zagon”. The ancient Russian snowboarding existed in Russia as well. Mention of a peculiar sports equipment was in “The notes on a trade trip to Moscow in 1584-1585” by the Dominican monk Martin Gruneweg. It was called "arty" or "narty" (sledge), that judging by its design description, resembled a modern snowboard.

Hunting, warfighting and traveling contributed to skis appearance. Skis were one of the most multifunctional household items in Russia. The Nikonov Chronicle reports that a ski detachment sent by Grand Duke Vasily to defend Ryazan from the Golden Horde Khan Mustafa surrounded and destroyed the Tatar cavalry. Skiers also played an important role in the battles of 1608-1610 against the Polish army. For leisure and entertainment, skiing was not implemented until several centuries after these events.

We would not be enjoying winter sports or the White Olympics*, if individual and team competitions had not been invented. For example, bobsleigh was invented by a tourist from England. He connected two sledges with planks to roll down an alpine mountain in large group. At the same time, a Swiss hotel owner used a similar idea to invent two sports known today as tobogganing and skeleton. In the 18th century, skiers took up arms in competitions and the biathlon came into being. Scottish mountaineers raced pieces of rocks over frozen lakes - curling emerged.

Winter season is not a reason to give up the outdoor activities, since there is so much to do with a warm hat on the head and a fluffy scarf around the neck! Snowboarding, freestyle and ice climbing are for the extreme sports enthusiast, while sledding, riding a snowmobile, ice skating and cross-country skiing are for the others.

A thematic album “Winter Sports” is posted in the museumPhoto Archive.

On the cover: Skating girl. Circa 1925. Armand Godard. France

*Winter Olympic Games are held since 1924. The opening of the First Winter Games in Chamonix was a huge step for the world of sport. 293 athletes from 16 countries took part. Medals were awarded in 14 sports events.

Geek, E. J. History of the Olympic Games/E. Я. Geek, E. Gupalo. Moscow: Eksmo, 2014. 352