Everyone to Skis!: Skiing in Russia and the Rise of Soviet Biathlon

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9780875804767: Everyone to Skis!: Skiing in Russia and the Rise of Soviet Biathlon

Nowhere in the world was the sport of biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship, taken more seriously than in the Soviet Union, and no other nation garnered greater success at international venues. From the introduction of modern biathlon in 1958 to the USSR’s demise in 1991, athletes representing the Soviet Union won almost half of all possible medals awarded in world championship and Olympic competition. Yet more than sheer technical skill created Soviet superiority in biathlon. The sport embodied the Soviet Union’s culture, educational system and historical experience and provided the perfect ideological platform to promote the state’s socialist viewpoint and military might, imbuing the sport with a Cold War sensibility that transcended the government’s primary quest for post-war success at the Olympics.

William D. Frank’s book is the first comprehensive analysis of how the Soviet government interpreted the sport of skiing as a cultural, ideological, political and social tool throughout the course of seven decades. In the beginning, the Soviet Union owned biathlon, and so the stories of both the state and the event are inseparable. Through the author’s unique perspective on biathlon as a former nationally-ranked competitor and current professor of Soviet history, Everyone to Skis! will appeal to students and scholars of Russian and Soviet history as well as to general readers with an interest in skiing and the development of twentieth-century sport.

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About the Author:

William D. Frank was a nationally-ranked competitor in Biathlon. He is an occasional lecturer in history and humanities at Central Washington University.

Review:

Winner of International Skiing History Association's Ullr Award - 2015

"Frank offers a well-researched and significant addition to the fields of sport history and Russian/Soviet history, enhancing our understanding of an important but not widely studied part of Russian/Soviet culture and society." --Jenifer Parks, Rocky Mountain College

"Frank is uniquely suited to write the first history of Russian biathlon . . . Summing Up: Recommended."
-Choice

"Learn why Russia's men's biathlon relay gold meant so much--read WD Frank's Everyone to Skis! Skiing in Russia and the Rise of Soviet Biathlon." - Alexander Wolff, senior writer, Sports Illustrated

“William Frank ingeniously uses the evolution of the biathlon, Europeans’ favorite sport in the Winter Olympics since its introduction in 1960 in Squaw Valley, to trace parallel changes in politics in the USSR. Engaging prose, flavored by the author’s personal participation in biathlon, moves the narrative from skiing in the tsarist era to the Soviet dominance in the medal count. At once a solid history of both Soviet state and sport, this monograph offers much to fans like myself who are eagerly anticipating the Winter Games in Sochi.” –Louise McReynolds, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"In Everyone to Skis! Frank weaves through the history of skiing and biathlon in Russia, engaging with the wider political and historiographical context as he does so....Frank’s book is a welcome addition to the still relatively small number of works on the history of Soviet sport."
- The Russian Review

"You will never think about, watch (perhaps even participate in) biathlon in the same way after reading Frank's interesting, well-written and organized, detailed and thoroughly researched book." - E. John B. Allen, author of The Culture and Sport of Skiing: From  Antiquity to World War II

"William D. Frank’s book on Soviet biathlon adds to our knowledge of Soviet sports in several ways....Frank (a former biathlete himself) manages to convey not only enthusiasm for the sport, but also sheds light on crucial changes in the sport’s rules which turned the balance in one nation’s favour or crushed another’s aspirations. This makes for lively and interesting reading with great attention to detail."
-––Slavonic and East European Review

“I doubt there are many ex-biathletes with a PhD in history, but I give you William Frank, who here richly unfurls Soviet culture by way of guys who ski and shoot.”
—Katharine Whittemore, The Boston Globe

“Frank highlights the importance of skiing in the Russian Civil War and the Second World War, as well as the 1974 World Biathlon Championships in Minsk, when this event took place on Soviet soil for the first time...Frank’s excellent history of skiing also makes the Soviet Union’s efforts in 1945 to ban skiing in occupied Germany far more understandable.”

—Heather L. Dichter, Ithaca College

Recommended to everybody who is interested in sports history, as well as in the history of the Soviet Union.
-- Journal of Sport History

"Meticulously researched and highly readable..."
- Canadian Slavonic Papers

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Book Description Northern Illinois University Press, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. As Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, first premier of the Soviet Union, once advocated: Do you ski? Do it without fail! Learn how and set off for the mountains-you must! In the mountains winter is wonderful! It s sheer delight, and it smells like Russia. Nowhere in the world was the sport of biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle marks-manship, taken more seriously than in the former Soviet Union, and no other nation garnered greater success in international competition. For scholars and general readers alike, Everyone to Skis! presents a fascinating new perspective on the Soviet Union through the history of a sport closely tied to the homeland. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780875804767

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Book Description Northern Illinois University Press, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. As Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, first premier of the Soviet Union, once advocated: Do you ski? Do it without fail! Learn how and set off for the mountains-you must! In the mountains winter is wonderful! It s sheer delight, and it smells like Russia. Nowhere in the world was the sport of biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle marks-manship, taken more seriously than in the former Soviet Union, and no other nation garnered greater success in international competition. For scholars and general readers alike, Everyone to Skis! presents a fascinating new perspective on the Soviet Union through the history of a sport closely tied to the homeland. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780875804767

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