Postolympic syndrome and journal «Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kul'tury» (1981-1988)


Ph.D., Associate Professor S.А. Pronin
National State University of Physical Culture, Sport and Health named after P.F. Lesgaft, St. Petersburg

Keywords: XXII Olympic Games, negative effects of postolympic reorganizations, journal "Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kul'tury".

Despite all obstacles, the Olympic Games of 1980 in Moscow, which marked the XXII Olympic Games of the modern age, were a great success and resulted in the victory of Soviet athletes. The contribution of the journal "Teoriya i Praktika Fizicheskoy Kul'tury" in this progress was not unnoticed, — Chief Editor of the journal А.V. Sedov was awarded with the Badge of Honor Order.

The XXII Olympic Games were both a holiday and a cold shower. Initially it was supposed that the income from the games would be about 500 mln RUB, but in reality they incurred much greater expenses … [4]. Certainly, their amount was not comparable with the Afghanistan war expenses but it did not relate to the motto «the economy must be economical …» at the XXVI session of CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) in 1981 either.

After the XXII Olympic Games the main focus of the physical culture and sport activity in the USSR had shifted to the hypothetically less unprofitable mass area. Initially the management of the Committee for Physical Training and Sport of the USSR Council of Ministers tried to keep to the reasonable balance in the scientific basis of problems of elite sport and large-scale physical training but that initiative was not supported by the country's leaders.

In April 1983 typical party functionary Marat Vladimirovich Gramov was appointed the Chairman of the Committee. The number of scientific conferences decreased by over 50% almost immediately. Financing of complex scientific groups was cut down. Annual collections of methodological articles connected with the overwhelming majority of sports stop being published since the mid 80s. All that began directly or indirectly influencing on the destruction of the interconnection of the successfully functioning integral research system regarding physical education and sport.

The new trends influenced the journal "Teoriya i Praktika Fizicheskoy Kul'tury" too. The economy drive caused a 16 page reduction of the journal volume (1 printer’s sheet). The number of the journal copies had dropped (one and a half times) down to 12 500 copies. The editorial staff managed to increase that rate a little bit but mainly due to the fact that authors of articles got 5 copies of the journal as royalties [3].

The structure of the journal content has changed too. There was a trend (which still exists) of permanent decrease (approximately 1% per year on average) in the segment of sport articles and the corresponding growth of articles related to physical culture problems [10].

Gradual negative consequences of the post-Olympic reorganizations in sport science became more and more tangible. Even the restructuring trends (М.S. Gorbachev became the head of the country in March 1985) did not eliminate that trend. A plenary session of the scientific council of the USSR State Sport Committee took place in April 1987, where it was actually stated that the quality of the research activity had deteriorated resulting in the decrease of the Soviet athlete's performance [7].

Weak coordination of researches, their low complexity and narrow subjects were the main reasons for that situation [7, p. 59]. Besides that, one of the main reasons for this was the lack of modern instrument methods for applied scientific researches. Their characteristic feature was a personal computer then. However, even organizations could hardly buy it (a personal computer cost as a car). It was an essential hindrance to the introduction of information technologies in the practice of scientific researches. But there was some progress in that direction [5].

During theoretical researches of the problems of physical culture and sport there was a situation predefined by the general scientific progress in the system and culturological approaches by the 80s. It was supposed that one could start forming general science disciplines by using their methods and rich empiric materials acquired in the researches. Two schools of scientists started fighting for the right to be called founders of the new scientific direction (Physical Culture Theory): Moscow School (headed by L.P. Matveev) and Leningrad School (headed by N.I. Ponomarev and V.М. Vydrin). However, a new concept was just recorded in the Procrustean bed of the existing Physical Culture Theory. But it failed to solve the problem but just caused new questions [9].

Having professionally and qualitatively summarized all existing knowledge of sport pedagogics, Kiev Scientific School (you have to hand it to its undoubted leader V.N. Platonov) was the first to create a pedagogical sport theory [8].

The journal celebrated its anniversary in December 1985 (40 years). It was mentioned at the conference in that regard that «one could trace the whole way of the Soviet sport science by the publications in the journal» [11, p. 5]. Almost all people who spoke at the conference said about the importance of the journal "Teoriya i Praktika Fizicheskoy Kul'tury" for the national physical culture and sports movement and the main role of its editor-in-chief А.V. Sedov.

Arkadiy Vladimirovich Sedov died two years later. His death was so serious that it took over a year to find a worthy man instead of him to that position.


  1. Bol'she vnimaniya nauchnomu obespecheniyu fizkul'turnogo dvizheniya (More attention to scientific support of physical culture movement) // Teoriya i praktika fiz. kul'tury. – 1981. – № 9. – P. 2–4.
  2. Dal'neyshiy pod'em massovosti fizicheskoy kul'tury i sporta (Further growth of large-scale involvement of physical culture and sport) // Teoriya i praktika fiz. kul'tury. – 1981. – № 10. – P. 2–7.
  3. Zhirnov, E. Nikakaya drugaya Olimpiada ne prinosila takikh bol'shikh ubytkov (The first Olympic Games that yielded such big loss) // Kommersant-Vlast' / E. Zhirnov. – 2010. – № 20. – P. 64–70; № 21. – S. 56–63.
  4. K svedeniyu avtorov (For authors' information) // Teoriya i praktika fiz. kul'tury. – 1987. – № 5. – P. 63.
  5. Nikolaev, Yu.M. Teoriya fizicheskoy kul'tury: chto eto takoe? (The meaning of theory of physical culture) / Yu.M. Nikolaev // Teoriya i praktika fiz. kul'tury. – 2015. – № 1. – P. 94–99.
  6. Pamyati Arkadiya Vladimirovicha Sedova (In memory of Arkady Vladimirovich Sedov) // Teoriya i praktika fiz. kul'tury. – 1988. – № 1. – P. 56–57.
  7. Polosin, A.S. Plenum nauchnogo soveta Goskomsporta SSSR (Plenary meeting of Scientific Council of the USSR State Sports Committee) / A.S. Polosin // Teoriya i praktika fiz. kul'tury. – 1987. – № 6. – P. 58–60.
  8. Pronin, S.A. Evolyutsiya tematiki publikatsiy zhurnala «Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kul'tury» (1925–2009 gg.) (Evolution of subject area of publications of the journal "Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kul'tury" (1925-2009) / S.A. Pronin // Teoriya i praktika fiz. kul'tury. – 2010. – № 9. – P. 6–9.
  9. Teoriya sporta: uchebnik dlya IFK (Theory of sport: textbook for institutes of phys. cult.) / Ed. by V.N. Platonov. – Kiev: Vissha shkola, 1987. – 422 P.
  10. Samsonov, A.V. Ot EVM – k informatsionnym tekhnologiyam (From computer to information technology) / A.V. Samsonova, I.M. Kozlov, V.A. Taymazov // Teoriya i praktika fiz. kul'tury. – 2000. – № 11. – P. 9–15.
  11. Yubileynaya nauchno-teoreticheskaya konferentsiya zhurnala (Jubilee Scientific Theoretical Conference of the journal) // Teoriya i praktika fiz. kul'tury. – 1986. – № 2. – P. 5–9.

Corresponding author: