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a traditional major sports competition. The name Spartakiad (after Spartacus) was used for competitions between workers’ sports associations organized in the early 1920’s in a number of European countries, including Germany, Czechoslovakia, and the USSR, as an answer to bourgeois sports competitions. The first Spartakiads in the USSR were held in 1923 by units of the Red Army and by Spartak, a young people’s physical-culture organization in Petrograd. In 1928 an all-Union Spartakiad, featuring competitions in 21 sports, was held in Moscow. More than 7,000 athletes competed, including 600 representatives of workers’ sports organizations from 17 countries. Since the early 1930’s, all-Union Spartakiads have been held by trade unions and the physical-culture and sports society Dynamo. Since the 1950’s there have been Spartakiads of the peoples of the USSR and the All-Union Voluntary Society to Aid the Army, Air Force, and Navy, as well as all-Union Spartakiads for schoolchildren and international Spartakiads of friendly armies of socialist and developing countries. Spartakiads, public displays of achievements in physical culture and sports, further athletic development and the training of talented athletes for participation in national and international sports competitions.
Spartakiads of the peoples of the USSR have been held since 1956. As a rule, they are held the year preceding the Olympic Games. Competitions are first held by physical-culture groups at enterprises, building projects, kolkhozes, educational institutions, and the like. Raion, city, oblast, krai, republic and all-Union Spartakiads are held later. Select teams from the Union republics, Moscow, and Leningrad compete in the finals.
Twenty million athletes competed in the first summer Spartakiad in 1956. Approximately 90 million participated in the sixth, in 1975; more than 12,000 went on to compete in the finals, including 8,300 masters of sport. Between 1966 and 1975, three winter Spartakiads were held. Approximately 20 million athletes participated in each; more than 2,000 went on to compete in the finals, including approximately 1,000 masters of sport. The finals included all Olympic sports practiced in the USSR. Spartakiads of the Peoples of the USSR are preceded by separate all-Union Spartakiads of voluntary sports societies and Spartakiads of the trade unions of the USSR, the Armed Forces of the USSR, the All-Union Voluntary Society to Aid the Army, Air Force, and Navy, and other competitions.
Spartakiads of the trade unions of the USSR have been held since 1932. Participants include physical-culture groups and sports clubs of voluntary sports societies and and select trade union council teams from the Union republics, Moscow, and Leningrad. There have been nine such all-Union summer Spartakiads. At the last one, held in 1969, 103,400 physical-culture groups and 27.5 million people took part; 7,000 athletes went on to compete in the finals, including 4,800 masters of sport. Eight winter Spartakiads were held between 1945 and 1975. A total of 650,000 physical-culture groups and more than 10 million people took part in the last one; 1,100 athletes went on to compete in the finals, including 600 masters of sport. The competitions included Olympic and national sports. The summer Spartakiads are held the year after the Olympic Games, while the winter Spartakiads are held the year before.
Spartakiads of the Armed Forces of the USSR are held as public displays of physical culture and sports, which are an essential part of military training in the army and navy. The contests include Olympic and military-applied sports. They begin with mass competitions in military sub-units and units, continue with competitions for the different armed services, and conclude with the finals—the Spartakiad of the Armed Forces of the USSR. Fifteen such Spartakiads were held between 1923 and 1973; 8,000 people participated in the finals of the last one, including 6,800 masters of sport. Athletes of the Soviet Army take part in international Spartakiads of friendly armies of the socialist and developing countries, conducted by the Sports Committee of Friendly Armies. Three summer Spartakiads and, beginning in 1961, five winter Spartakiads were held between 1958 and 1975. More than 1,500 athletes took part in the competitions, which feature Olympic and military-applied sports. International Spartakiads have been held in the USSR, the German Democratic Republic, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria.
Spartakiads of the All-Union Voluntary Society for Aid to the Army, Air Force, and Navy are held for engineering-oriented sports. Between 1958 and 1970 there were four such all-Union Spartakiads. In 1967 and 1975 competitions in military sports related to engineering sports were included in the Spartakiads of the peoples of the USSR. In the 1974–75 games there were 35 million participants; approximately 5,000 went on to compete in the finals, including 2,900 masters of sport.
Spartakiads are also held by the physical-culture and sports society Dynamo. Between 1933 and 1973 there were nine all-Union Dynamo Spartakiads. There were 2,500 participants in the finals of the last Spartakiad, including 1,500 masters of sport. In 1965 and 1968 all-Union Iunyi Dinamovets Spartakiads were held. Since 1957, Soviet athletes have competed in the summer Spartakiads and, since 1975, in the winter Spartakiads held annually by sports organizations of socialist countries allied with Dynamo.
Spartakiads for schoolchildren have been organized since 1954. Held annually until 1961, they are now held twice a year. There have been 13 such all-Union Spartakiads, the last of which was in 1974. Approximately 20 million children participated in the last competitions; approximately 4,000 went on to compete in the finals, including approximately 1,000 masters of sport and candidates for that title. These Spartakiads begin with intraschool competitions. Select teams from the ministries of education of the Union republics and the Moscow and Leningrad departments of public education take part in the finals. As a rule, the teams are composed of students from the eighth through tenth grades.
Many Soviet and world records in various sports have been set at Spartakiads. For example, 99 all-Union records and 77 world records were set at the Fifteenth Spartakiad of the Armed Forces of the USSR.
Spartakiads are also held in other socialist countries.
P. S. BOGDANOV and N. N. RIASHENTSEV