INTRODUCTION: Some 150 hardy Russians have attended the first toughening-up school for winter swimmers.
GV Skier leading people in swimsuits jogging through snow
GV ZOOM TO CU Man lifting weights
SV ZOOM TO GV Group of people playing ball
SV Woman and child watching people dipping into water (2 shots)
SV Swimmers playing waterball (3 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Some 150 hardy Russians have attended the first toughening-up school for winter swimmers. The organisation jokingly calls itself the "Walrus School", and its motto is "Winter swimming helps to be cheerful and healthy."
SYNOPSIS: Skiers in sub-zero temperatures are nothing unusual, but joggers wearing nothing more than swimsuits and performing heavy physical exercises in Moscow's snowy. Sekolniki Park definitely is not normal.
These people call themselves Walruses and their snow-bound exercises all lead up to swimming in icy water. Jogging, weightlifting and ball games are part of a systematic training course the Walruses go through to get themselves into shape for the icy dip. They are being coached by scientists at a so-called tempering school. There are separate lessons for three age groups -- those under 25, those between 25 and 40 and those older than 40.
For the very young, sitting warmly wrapped up on the icy fringes, it perhaps looks a bit bewildering to see half a dozen adults jump into a hole in the ice. But the Walruses obviously enjoy it. There are some 2,000 enthusiasts in Moscow alone, and they insist there is nothing quite like winter swimming to keep young.
The Soviet Union is not they only country where winter swimming has found followers. Enthusiasts in eastern Europe and Scandinavia practise it, in Australia they call themselves Icebergs, in North America Polar Bears, and in Moscow it's the Walruses who find pleasure in the icy pool.