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a sport in which contestants race on foot over a course consisting of checkpoints found with the aid of a map and a compass



a type of sport, including various competitions in speed orienteering and traveling over an area with the use of a large-scale map and a compass.

A distinction is made between three types of competitions in orienteering. In the first type, the competitors search in a specified order for control points whose positions are marked on maps that are provided at the start; the competitors choose their own routes from point to point. In the second type, the competitors travel over a marked-out route and, upon reaching a control point, determine its position and mark it on a map (the route is not shown on the map). In the third type, the competitors select from among the control points marked on a map the combination and number of control points that will permit accumulation of the maximum number of points during the time allotted. Competitions may be individual, individual-team, or team; they may be conducted during the day or at night. The competitors may be on foot (running) or may use skis, bicycles, motorcycles, boats, or other means, depending on the competition. The distances are up to 30 km for men and up to 15 km for women.

The first orienteering competitions were held in Norway in 1897. Since the early 20th century, orienteering has developed in the Scandinavian countries, and since the mid-1940’s in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the German Democratic Republic. The International Orienteering Federation, which in 1973 comprised the national associations of 21 countries, was founded in 1961. Orienteering has been developed in 40 countries. World championships in sports orienteering have been held since 1966, with the greatest successes being achieved by the Swedes, Finns, and Norwegians (Soviet athletes have not participated in world championship competitions).

In the USSR, competitions in orienteering for hikers were held during the second half of the 1940’s. Since the late 1950’s orienteering has developed as an independent sport, at first in the Baltic republics and in Moscow and Leningrad. In 1963 the first rules were approved, the Central Commission on Meets and Competitions (now the Central Section on Orienteering) was established under the Central Council on Tourism of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, and the first all-Union competitions were held. In 1965 orienteering was included in the Uniform All-Union Sports Classification, and in 1971 it became part of the physical-education complexes Prepared for Labor and Defense and Prepared to Defend the Motherland. In 1973 more than 300,000 persons, including about 400 Masters of Sports, were involved in orienteering. Since 1965 an all-star team of the USSR has taken part in international competitions in orienteering; in 1967 and again in 1970–71 it won the Peace and Friendship Cup.


Nurmimaa, V. Sportivnoe orientirovanie. Moscow, 1967. [Translated from Finnish.]
Ivanov, E. S kompasom i kartoi. Moscow, 1971.
Bogatov, S., and O. Kriukov. Sportivnoe orientirovanie na mestnosti Moscow, 1971.
Elakhovskii, S. Beg k nevidimoi tseli. Moscow, 1973.


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