Football player Nabokov, boxer Pushkin and gymnast Akhmatova: sport in the life of Russian writers

Alexander Pushkin, boxing and fencing

“In 1827, Pushkin taught me boxing in English, and I became so addicted to this exercise that I challenged those who wanted and those who did not want at children’s balls,” said Pavel Petrovich Vyazemsky, the son of his relatives. friend of the poet.

According to one version, Pushkin became interested in this sport after his idol, Lord Byron. At the same time, historian Mikhail Lukashev noted that the poet began boxing immediately after graduating from high school, having met with the famous rebel Pyotr Kaverin. With him, he looked into the drinking rooms, where frequent fights were commonplace. And then the British direct blow helped, because they could quickly knock out the opponent.

Biographer Pavel Annenkov spoke about other hobbies of the poet: “He [Пушкин] He was famous as a tireless hiker, a passionate hunter for swimming, riding, and fought well in espadrons (a kind of sword –

Pushkin became addicted to fencing in high school, where such classes were a mandatory part of education. The poet’s mentor was the famous swordsman Alexander Valville, whose classic is considered almost the first student.

Leo Tolstoy, tennis and cycling

Writer Leo Tolstoy remained in excellent physical shape throughout his life: this was especially influenced by his military background. But the author was not lazy to maintain his condition after the service.

Tolstoy was fond of lawn tennis, which came to the Russian Empire in the 19th century and fell in love with the elite. “We played on a very coarse sand court at Yasnaya Polyana. Tolstoy played frivolously just for fun. I was surprised that he beat me, although I am quite experienced and a good actor, ”recalls the author Elmer Maud’s biography.

In many games, Tolstoy showed an insatiable passion, especially noticeable when playing chess. According to the memoirs of contemporaries, the writer, having discovered a mistake, held his head and screamed loudly, which frightened the people nearby.

“Winning in chess, and indeed in any game, is pleasant and not good; but I love chess because it’s a good rest: they make you work with your head, but somehow it is very strange and monotonous, ”wrote Tolstoy.

Already in adulthood, he learned to ride a classic bike. His hobby was often enthusiastically written about in magazines. The critic Dmitry Merezhkovsky hinted that sport sometimes even surpasses Tolstoy’s main activity in priorities:

“While Lev Nikolaevich is resting from cycling or peasant work in the fields, playing lawn tennis or laying a stove for a poor woman, Countess Sofia Andreevna does not sleep all night, some of whom are editing a new edition. It is not without reason that his faithful servant is hiding in his boots for the master.”

Alexander Kuprin, swimming and weightlifting

Writer Alexander Kuprin, whom Tolstoy called “a pleasant dictator”, was actively involved in sports. “Sport is a great and great power,” he wrote. Swimming was one of his favorite pastimes. Kuprin was founded in 1913 by the famous marathon swimmer Leonid Romanchenko in St. He often visited the first swimming school opened in St. Petersburg. He eventually became a writer’s teacher.

Kuprin was also friends with Russian “heroes” wrestlers Ivan Poddubny and Ivan Zaikin. With the latter, by the way, they even got into a plane crash: the desire to stunt on an airplane turned into the fact that under their weight he almost fell into a crowd of spectators. Fortunately, pilot Zaikin was able to steer the ship in the other direction.

“With a strange indifferent curiosity, I saw that we were transported in a narrow space to the Jewish cemetery, where there were about three thousand people,” Kuprin wrote.

The author also He sat at the referee’s table of wrestling matches in the “Modern” circus in St. He also became the founder of the first athletic society in Kiev, together with the doctor Yevgeny Garnich-Garnitsky, later known as the Russian Falcon.

Vladimir Nabokov, football

“I was an excellent athlete,” said Vladimir Nabokov about himself. The author skated and skated, played lawn tennis, fenced and boxed. However, for the first time in St. He was more passionate about football, playing as a goalkeeper at Tenishevsky College in St.

Some criticized Nabokov for choosing the role of a goalkeeper, but the writer took this task poetically: he saw “something Byronic” in the solitude and independence of the goalkeeper.

“He is a white crow, an iron mask, the last defender,” Nabokov said of the goalkeeper. He then attended Trinity College, Cambridge, where he began playing for the student team. In the same place, in 1920, Nabokov wrote the poem “Football” (“Football”).

The writer, who was in exile in Germany, played for the Russian team in Berlin, but was seriously injured in one of the matches and ended his career.

“Nabokov, calling his friends Volodya, received a blow to the head while catching the ball and fell to the ground. In an unconscious state, he was removed from the field. In addition to a concussion, he also received two rib fractures, ”says German journalist Thomas Urban.

Anna Akhmatova, swimming and rhythmic gymnastics

The poet Anna Akhmatova had a sports hobby for literally every season. She returned to her native Odessa, where she regularly swam in the Black Sea. And although this sport was later considered “non-female”, the poem did not hesitate to “revolt” in public:

“Do you know how the young ladies went to the beach? A bodice, a top bodice, two skirts, one of which is starched, and a silk dress. He puts on a rubber shoe and a special hood, enters the water, splashes himself and on land. And then a monster appeared – me – in a dress on a naked body, barefoot. I jumped into the sea and swam away for two hours. She came back, put on a dress on a wet body – the dress from the salt stuck on me with a pile.

In winter, the poet willingly went skiing. As her stepdaughter Irina Punina recalls, Akuma (the poet’s pseudonym is often took her on such walks along the frozen Fontanka.

“On the skis, Akuma glided off the track easily. The happiest walks ended with a trip to the Sreznevskys, ”said Punina.

Another hobby of Akhmatova was rhythmic gymnastics, which gained popularity in the Silver Age thanks to the future wife of the “World of Art” Sergei Volkonsky and Sergei Yesenin Isadora Duncan. Anna Akhmatova often hosted home evenings, where she showed her flexibility to the audience.

“Akhmatova pretended to be a “snake woman”; his flexibility was amazing: he easily put his foot behind his neck, while keeping the stern face of a novice, he touched his heels with the back of his head, ”wrote the poem’s contemporary.

Sergey Yesenin, swimming

Despite the reputation of a famous rebel, Sergei Yesenin was physically well prepared. “I remember him young, flexible, athletic,” the poet’s son wrote.

Yesenin loved long walks and could walk 60 km. From childhood there was a tendency to increase physical activity: in the village the poet fishes, climbs trees, fights, rides horses and goes out to the lake on a boat.

According to the memoirs of contemporaries, the “last poet of the village” swam perfectly, which was facilitated by very inhumane lessons in the family.

“An uncle (Uncle Sasha) took me on the boat, away from shore, took off my clothes and threw me into the water like a puppy. Clumsily and frightened, I clapped my hands and kept shouting until I choked: “Oh, bitch! So, where are you suitable? “Bitch” had a kind word, ”Yesenin recalled.

Said uncle Sasha “replaced” Yesenin and a hunting dog, when after the shot ducks forced the poet to swim.

Legend has it that in the United States, Yesenin challenged Johnny Weissmuller, a five-time Olympic champion in swimming and the performer of the Tarzan role. However, there is no documentary evidence of this.

In the winter season, young Yesenin liked to spend evenings on the rink. According to the memoirs of his teacher, Yevgeny Khitrov, after school the future star of literature went to the frozen river behind the school grounds, spent time there until the night, forgetting everything in the world. “Sometimes it took 20 kilometers to ice skate,” said the poet’s classmate.

Pushkin was one of the first to discover boxing in the Russian Empire, Tolstoy preferred English tennis, Akhmatova surprised the public with his flexibility, Vladimir Nabokov played football professionally, and Sergei Yesenin loved swimming: talks about the sports hobbies of Russians authors.

Source: Gazeta


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