The origin of soviet sport science

The origin of soviet sport science


O.M. Shelkov, professor, Ph.D., director of the institute
K.G. Korotkov, professor,
O.A. Churganov, professor, Dr.Hab.
St.Petersburg scientific research institute of physical culture, St.Petersburg

Key words: science, institutions, personnel training, methods, researches.

St.Petersburg sport science lies very deep. Its origins are to be searched in the XIX century when the Russian scientific system of physical education was established by P.F. Lesgaft. As follows from the history, in 1893 the son of Siberian goldminer I.M. Sibiryakov presented to his teacher P.F. Lesgaft the mansion located in the center of Saint Petersburg and two hundred thousand rubles for establishment of the new research center.

The funds were used to equip the biological laboratory - the first in the country research institute of physical culture. By the commission of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR of July 27 1932 P.F. Lesgaft scientific research institute, later - Leningrad scientific-research institute of physical culture (LSRIPC) was established in January 1933 as a part of the P.F. Lesgaft state institute of physical education (LSIPE).

The scholar school has been developing since the first days of formation of the institute. In this period the core of the institute was presented by such outstanding scientists as A.N. Krestovnikov, the founder of Soviet sport physiology; professor V.K. Dobrovolsky, one of the leading experts in remedial gymnastics; professor M.I. Kuslik, the foremost traumatologist.

Professor A.N. Krestovnikov, the follower of L.A. Orbeli, originally studied sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. He came to LSRIPC as a passionate athlete in the first years of existence of the institute, still working in P.F. Lesgaft institute of physical culture. His reputation of the pioneer, founder of sport physiology is well-deserved. In collaboration with the team of his followers he published “Essays on physiology of physical exercises” and several editions of the textbook on sport physiology. Professor N.N. Yakovlev is rightly reputed to be the founder of the Soviet scholar school of sport biochemistry, who started his work in 1931 in P.F. Lesgaft institute of natural science, in the laboratory of professor N.V. Veselkin and after finishing his postgraduate studies - he continued his studies in the field of hormonal control of muscle metabolism at the department of physiological chemistry of the P.F. Lesgaft institute.

The team of researchers of the institute has always pursued the objective of high level of applied researches, which facilitated maximum progress of the physical culture movement in Leningrad and in the region, and on the territory of the North-West of Russia.

In the mid 70-s the institute started the researches intended for design of new physicochemical methods of analysis of different low-molecular substances and synthetic steroid hormones fallen into doping and prohibited in sport. In the short period of time our country got the first antisera to use with anabolic steroids, radioactively labeled hormones were synthesized and the radioimmunoassay techniques for detection of anabolic steroids were improved.

A large group of the institute personnel under the guidance of director of the institute, Honoured Scientist of the Russian Federation professor V.A. Rogozkin took part in development of the doping control regulations for athletes in different sports and organization of the doping control service at XXII Olympic games in Moscow. The work of the personnel at Moscow Olympics is a high spot in the history of the institute.

Another obvious achievement was creation of the institute mobile research laboratory and complex research teams (CRT), ensuring organizational supervision of training of the country and Leningrad national teams in different sports at Spartakiada Games of the peoples of the USSR. Unfortunately, in the 90-s the system of complex research group was ruined due to the lack of financing, that naturally resulted in the deterioration of achievements of our athletes.

In these very years sports cardiology was developed and formed as an independent sports medical specialty.

The scientific research institute of physical culture in the modern world. St.Petersburg scientific-research institute of physical culture has overcome all the troubles of the 90-s and entered the new century with the preserved basic scientific potential. The new social procurement stipulated for the changes in the structure of the institute, development of new research areas, mainly adaptive physical culture and Paralympic sport.

Professor Sergey Petrovich Evseev was the director of the institute since 2003. Graduate of P.F. Lesgaft SIPC (1971), doctor of education (1995), professor (1993), Honorary Figure of Russian Higher Education (1997), pro-rector for academic affairs of P.F. Lesgaft St.Petersburg state scientific research institute of physical culture (1981–1998), dean of the faculty of adaptive physical culture, head of the chair of theory and methodology of adaptive physical culture (from 1995 till present), director of St.Petersburg scientific research institute of physical culture from 2003 till 2009, director of Department of science and education by the Ministry of sport (from 2009 till present). He is one of the authors of the “Concept of Public Policy of the Russian Federation in the Field of Rehabilitation and Social Adaptation for Persons with Disabilities by Means of Physical Culture and Sports (2000–2004)”. He also initiated and has become one of the main developers of the “State Educational Standards of Higher and Secondary Vocational Education” in it’s new branch “Physical Education for People with Disabilities”. Since 2006 S.P. Evseev is the vice-president of the Russian Paralympic committee. He has published over 500 research-teaching and studying works and defended 15 patents for an invention.

In 2009 associate professor Oleg Mikhaylovich Shelkov – a great authority in the field of theory and methodology of physical culture and sport - became the director of the institute. The scientific contribution of O.M. Shelkov is correlated with development of the problem of control of human motor activity based on formation of innovation technological approaches to diagnostics of the motor-mental potential: in health; at various forms of specific activity (in elite sport, in Paralympic sport); within formation of sport skills (in the sex and age aspects); at disease of motor and analyzer systems (spinal cord injury, visual impairments and different phases of mental retardation). He is the author of over 120 scientific and methodological works, including two monographs, repeated participant and organizer of international, all-Russian, regional and city scientific and theoretical-practical congresses, conferences, symposiums and seminars. Since 2005 O.M. Shelkov is the scientific and methodological coordinator of work with Olympic, Paralympic and Surdolympic national teams of Russia in 22 sports. Under his direction the institute has reached the new targets of scientific and practical activities.

Nowadays over 50 % of the institute teaching staff have an academic degree: 13 doctors of science and 28 PhDs. Elite scientists are trained within full-time and extra-mural postgraduate studies.

In compliance with the Strategy of development of physical culture and sport in the Russian Federation for the period till 2020, on the order of the government of the Russian Federation, the main activity of the institute is carried out in the following directions:

– development of St.Petersburg scientific research institute of physical culture as an innovation scientific institution, capable of solution of the national problem of elite athletes’ training and being in the lead in the sector of the Russian science in the field of physical culture and sport;

– conducing of fundamental and applies researches on the acute issues, striving for active integration and study of experience of world leaders in the relevant directions, focus on the necessity of side practical introduction of obtained results, fast response to the demands of modern sport;

– formation of the theoretical-practical environment of Paralympic and Surdolympic sports, adaptive physical culture;

– collaboration with the leading scientific, educational, medical, physical culture institutions and management structures within integration of traditional scientific values and innovation ideas;

– facilitating of participation of the institute personnel in international scientific programs, educational studies and projects;

– qualitative updating of the material and technical basis of the educational theoretical and practical complex of the institute, formation of economic mechanisms of provision with financials, facilities and equipment and other resources.

The work of the institute personnel on the methodological support of training of Russian Paralympic teams in many respects facilitated success in the performance in London Paralympic games and was highly appreciated by the administration of the Ministry of sport of the Russian Federation. Now trainings for the Winter Paralympic games 2014 in Sochi are in action.

Research fellows of St.Petersburg scientific research institute of physical culture work in the following research areas.

1. Adaptive physical culture:

– methodological support of all components of training of handicapped athletes and assistance rendered to trainers in record, scheduling and analysis of training and competitive loadings, pedagogical monitoring of athletes’ status;

– design of technologies of physical and sports activity in adaptive physical culture in accordance with the type of health disorder and sex and age structure of the involved.

2. The educational basics of the sports health and fitness activity:

– development of the technology of monitoring and diagnostics of physical development and fitness of the population in the information and educational system;

– search for the ways of enhancement of control and quality of basic physical education, fitness training and children and youth sport, creation of databases of health status of children, adolescents and youth of Russia;

– control of the process of training of sports reserve, age specifics of motor-mental support of motor activity of young athletes;

– technology of detection, development and prediction of motor endowments.

3. Innovation computer technologies in physical culture and sport:

– the use of the innovation method of analysis of human energy and psychological  characteristics – GDV-bioelectrography in sport;

– the study of methods and technologies of enhancement of human motor skill using extra androgenic relations and conditions of control of human motor actions;

– development of methodology and technologies of use of biofeedback factors and “artificial” managerial environment intended to form, correct and improve sport skill;

– development of health protecting technologies of physical education and sports training of children in accordance with the integrated assessment of functional statuses and computer programming of their training process.

4. Sports medicine and sport physiology:

– integrated assessment of athletes’ psychophysical potential for the purpose of qualification and prediction of success in training and competitions and study of sports reliability.

5. Biochemistry of sport:

– detection of genetic predisposition to performance of physical exercises of different intensity and duration;

– study of mechanisms of skeletal muscle injuries and regeneration at high-intensity physical loadings;

– work of the modern healthy nutrition system. Sports diet. The use of dietary supplements in sport.

In the recent years the scientific programs made were devoted to the following issues:

• Projecting of federal standards of sports training of Paralympic and Surdolympic athletes.

• The concept of modernization of physical education and improvement of the pupils’ health by means of physical culture and sport.

• The scientific substantiation of theoretical and regulatory guidelines of adaptive physical culture and its main types.

• The technology of development, retention and recovery of motor abilities of disabled and handicapped athletes via physical culture and sport.

• The structure and dynamics of adaptive processes at performance of physical exercises along with age-related evolution of younger schoolchildren.

• Methodology of development and technology of use of expert systems within introduction of healthy way of life among the rising generation of Russia.

• Design of testing methods of psychophysiological status of athletes of Olympic reserve.

• The use of DNA-technologies to allocate hereditary predisposition to manifestation of physical qualities in representatives of Olympic sports.

• Design and scientific justification of the theory and methodology of adaptive physical education of schoolchildren of special (remedial) educational institutions of types I-VIII.

• Design of the algorithms of use of survey procedures in the system of methodological support of the Paralympic sport.

• Enhancement of sports technical skills in cyclic water sports based on the use of athropogenic regulatory relations and conditions of control of human motor actions.

• Examination of different social groups of people.

• Control of the sports and physical training process in adaptive physical culture in view of sensor, motor and psychological disturbances of the involved.

• Designing of the methodology of enhancement of physical qualities of Paralympic athletes specialized in winter endurance sports based on the use of body compensatory responses.

• Elaboration of the methodology of control of jumping technique and fixation of the landing point at ski jumping.

• Enhancement of anti-dope measures in sport.

• Health priorities and value orientations of physical culture, sports and physical training activity of the rising generation of Russia (the WHO collaborative cross-national project “Health Behaviour in School-aged Children”).

• Development of model fitness characteristics for Paralympic athletes based on the existing evaluation and monitoring system of technical skills when training for Olympic games.

• Design of standards of program studies within the methodological support of national Paralympic and Surdolympic teams.

• Development of technologies of optimization of complex coordination and accuracy movements.

• Creation of innovation methods of testing of elite athletes’ technical skills by means of computer video analysis, computer modeling of biomechanical structure of sports exercises.

• Elaboration of the algorithms of combined use of sound and light stimulation and psychotraining for faster recovery and optimization of functional reserves of elite athletes specialized in different sports.

• Design of the methodology of prevention of life-threatening conditions among elite athletes.

At present the institute is to develop the concept of the Federal scientific and methodological center of Paralympic and Surdolympic sports based on Saint Petersburg research institute of physical culture, which will advance the Russian sport science to the new level and promote establishment of the Russian sport on the world level.


1. Evseev, S.P. To the 75th anniversary of St.Petersburg research institute of physical culture / S.P. Evseev, V.A. Rogozkin // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2008. – № 3. – P. 3-7. (In Russian)

2. Rogozkin, V.A. Development of activity by European college of sport sciences: (Proceedings of the 8th scientific congress) / V.A. Rogozkin// Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2003. – № 12 – P. 57–59. (In Russian)

Author’s contacts: