Moscow: Fizkul’tura i sport, 1956. Item #1604
28 pp.: ill. In the original wrappers with photographs. Ink inscription (dated 1975) on front cover. Very good condition, spine slightly rubbed.
First and only edition. No title page as issued, all contributors are credited on the back cover.
This photo book is devoted to boating activities common in the USSR, champions and the training system developed by Soviet rowers.
Design was produced by M.L. Kompaneets. The front wrapper features a photo of the Wings of Soviets team that consisted of eight rowers with a coxswain. The most known picture of this group – ‘The Eight’ (1955) – was taken by Lev Borodulin. Shot also diagonally, this photo looks alike. The back wrapper presents a picture of athlete Rosa Chumakova with her rival at the 1954 European Championships, Dutch rower Agnes Roiter.
The book contains black-and-white photographs and photomontages of rowers and pictures from competitions, including joint photos of two competing teams (for example, Soviet and Dutch). Each of four photomontages combines a photo of a team during the swim and a picture of an award they won.
The book overviews both recreational boating activity and rowing as a competitive sport. In summer time, Soviet people did boating, canoeing, kayaking. Boating stations were organized and actively attended in various settlements across the USSR. Since 1928, All-Union rowing and boating competitions have been held. The program of the 1928 Spartakiad included rowing, racing on kayaks and yals. In 1934, the program was enlarged with rowing on dinghies. Unlike elementary boating, canoeing gained popularity in the Soviet Union in 1952. By 1956, the USSR had already participated in the Olympics, held All-Union competitions and developed canoeing in some school clubs. A kayak as the invention of the people of the North was used much better and longer. People made kayaks with their own hands and organized weekend trips with friends. Schools and universities usually had boat racing teams. Many people, having started doing it in school, continued after that and participated in amateur competitions. The book published a nice picture of young men trained kayaking near Mtskheta (Georgia). Also, an upcoming canoe slalom competition was announced.
A large section is devoted to famous Soviet rowers and their participation in international competitions. The oldest Russian rower was Mitrofan Sveshnikov who joined this kind of sport in the 1890s; his picture is printed in a round frame. In the pre-war Soviet Union, Alexander Dolgushin was considered the best rower which results remained unattainable for a long period of time. He hasn’t survived the Great Patriotic War. His photograph with another eminent rower, Petr Rodionov illustrates the section about 1930s achievements.
They are followed by coaches of the leading Soviet teams. “The Wings of Soviets” was the All-Union sports organization uniting different sports clubs of Soviet aviation enterprises. Among rowing teams belonging to the organization were eights and fours, male and female groups. The Wings eight (male) was more recognizable. They managed to create the whole system of preparation for competitions, their own rowing school. They endlessly improved the quality of training and the design of a boat. Up to this day, many masters of paddling sports have imitated the style of this team in many ways. This book presents pictures of them during water exercises but also gymnastics, cross country, skiing and running.
Women’s eight and four of the Wings of Soviets society were coached by Petr Pakhomov (1902-1984); his portrait is printed in the edition. He also was a trainer of Emilia Mukhina who became the champion of the USSR twice. Her training sets certainly included lifting a bar with or without weights attached.
The only copy is located in LoC.