For the first time in modern history the Olympic Games are going to be held in the Soviet Union.
For the first time in modern history the Olympic Games are going to be held in the Soviet Union. While preparations are well underway in Moscow for the 1980 games, the Soviet authorities have not forgotten the country's ancient culture and traditions. The Olympiad cultural programme will include among other things the ancient Russian game of Gorodki.
SYNOPSIS: The popular game of Gorodki has its origins in Ancient Russia. Anyone could play whatever his age or social status. Devotees of the game have included several celebrated figures such as the writers Leo Tolstoi and Maxim Gorki, the outstanding military leader Aleksandr Suvorov and the well-known singer Shalyapin. Today the game is still played in nearly all of the fifteen republics.
The official number of players stands at more than three hundred thousand, and they will be found indulging in their favourite pastime in backyards, sports or recreation centres: anywhere there is some dirt, concrete or asphalt twenty by fifteen metres (60 by 45 feet) in size. Each player is armed with a red and white stick and five wooden blocks. The players pile up the blocks inside the square and then hurl the stick at them so they scatter in all directions. The aim of the game is to scatter the fifteen different patterns in as few attempts as possible.
If the player does not quite succeed in getting all the blocks out of he square he may come within closer range for his second attempt. Every enthusiast can manufacture his own bats to suit his swing or grip as there are no restrictions on weight or diameter, though the bat must not be more than one metre (3 feet) in length. The game ends with either team blasting all the patterns off the ground. Local players are now practising hard in the hope they will get some new converts to the game during the 1980 Olympics.