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International Perspectives - USSR and East Germany

2014-15 - Lecture on how the USSR and East Germany approached elite sport development during their more successful sporting years for the BA module Sport and Excellence.

Lee Ballard

on 4 October 2015

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Transcript of International Perspectives - USSR and East Germany

International Perspectives of Sporting Excellence
Key Words - Eastern Approaches
What are we doing today?
A unified Germany
Eastern Bloc
Soviet Union (USSR) and (East) Germany

Discuss the key words in your groups. Place them into groups of your choice.
One of you will stay and explain your decisions, the others will walk around and discuss other groups decisions.
Soviet Union
East Germany
Soviet Union
1922 - 1991
Cold War vs USA
In small groups discuss the following;
What did communism stand for?
What are your perceptions of the Soviet Unions approach to Elite Sport?
- why?
Do you think they were successful?
Were they successful?
Soviet union - Why focus on elite sport?
Soviet Union - How did they do this?
Handout - USSR's Elite Sports Development Model
Key Principles
Normative Programmes
Central State Funding
Sports Schools
Talent Identification & Development
Well-Qualified Coaches
Sports Physicians
Question: What do you think are the issues that surrounded the USSR model?
Soviet Union - the Issues
East Germany - Elite Sport
Controlled by Soviet Union
Soviet Union was its mentor
1949 - 1990
Germany divided (West and East)
Capital Berlin divided (Berlin wall)
Satellite state of the Soviet Union
In small groups discuss the following;
With your knowledge of Soviet Union and elite sport, how do you think East Germany will view elite sport?
What are your perceptions of East German athletes?
Why do you think this is?
Were they successful?
East Germany - why focus on elite sport?
East Germany - how did they do this?
Handout - East Germany's Elite Sports Development Model
Key Principles
One Party Control
Central State Funding
Talent ID & Development
Well-qualified Coaches
Sports Science & Sports Medicine
Question: What do you think are the issues that surrounded the East German model?
East Germany - the Issues
Are we (GB) guilty of this today? Certainly not on this scale!
East/West unified on 3rd October 1990
Former GDR sports and Science institutions were adapted to conform to more democratic structures in West Germany.
Sport Science laboratories in West integrated with East.
Facilities in the East allowed to continue in an appropriate legal form.
More open and transparent.
What do you think were the main 'sporting' issues with this merger?
Sports Science Approaches
Over the last 2 decades, a number of scientific issues relating to elite sport have been addressed:

Science & Training
Sport Science in the Service of Elite Sport
Sport Science in the Service of Anti-Doping Research
Development of Sports Equipment in the Service of Competitive Sport
Research into Basic Planning Issues related to Sports Facilities
USSR utilised sport as a means of changing society that was backward and poor, into something more modern and to be revered.
New emphasis on sport's 'applied' functions in preparing the population for labour and defence.
Firmly believed physical work & exercise was essential to mental creativity.
Promoted competition as a socially useful way of life.
Stalin and soviet leadership played up old glories of the Russian past in the interest of national unity (Role Models).
Identified and developed sport talent in a systematic way - pioneers of Talent ID?
Highly structured approaches where winning was at its core.
Pressure on performers not to make friends with foreign athletes.
Emphasis on 'home' sporting contests and pride to win (proof of communism dominance over capitalism).
Elite Sports Development Model (handout).
Some Western Countries model themselves on their techniques and regimes (Australia).
Sport for All philosophies were often sacrificed for elite sport
Specialist sport schools catered primarily for Olympic sports (with the exception of Chess)
To many ordinary soviet citizens; priorities were misplaced
Large gap between living standards and facilities on one hand, and the funds given to elite sport and stars on the other
Following collapse of communism, a strong anti-elite sport sentiment emerged, with allegations of state sponsored administration of drugs with young children
Doubts to the ‘scientifically rigorous’ approach to TID
Sport used as a tool to demonstrate political superiority of socialism.
Soviet Union was its mentor so it adapted similar principles.
Sport was used as a way of establishing the nation as an equal to West Germany.
Sport used as a way of giving country political recognition on a global stage.
Attempted to improve sporting performance through the application of science and medicine.
Elite Talent ID and Development programmes (conducted in sports boarding schools).
Development of East Germany's Elite Sport Development Model (handout).
Sport was used overtly as a political tool to promote a particular (communist) ideology
We (GB) use sport politically, although not under this level of control
The elite athlete in the GDR was treated as a dehumanised tool, and only respected if successful
Well documented use of performance-enhancing drugs
Other countries athletes have been found using drugs, but the GDR experiments displayed a lack of respect towards athletes and sport
Concerns in nature of Talent ID & Development procedures
The balancing of Sport for All and elite sports development
GDR practices had worked, but came at a high price and consumed very high levels of resources
West German scientists voiced concerns at former East German practices, despite also focusing on elite success
Some distance between sides initially, but preserving expertise of former East scientists was considered important
Former GDR scientists subjected to a test of their technical and political integrity
Some GDR scientists who still supported the Eastern approach left Germany and worked elsewhere
Today, elite sport occupies a singular position in the German sporting landscape
Because of this, many in Germany have helped to provide it with resources needed for its development
However, financially, there are no meaningful estimates of just how costly elite sport is
Elite sported aided by clubs and associations, substantial subsistence given to athletes from friends/family, and a mix of public/private bodies
Without public support and sponsors, much elite sport would not be financed
Sport and Excellence
Learning Objectives
Investigate the approaches used by the 2 eastern countries in supporting elite sport
Discuss the similarities / differences
Analyse the ethics of both approaches

International Perspectives - China
Assessment 1
How does today relate to the essay? How can you use todays information?
Key Reading
Houlihan and Green (2008) - Editors
Full transcript