First sports facilities in Norilsk built in 1940s
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First sports facilities in Norilsk built in 1940s

November 14, 2022

The first sports facilities in Norilsk were the Dynamo stadium and a small gym in the Old town.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. In 1942, the first local stadium – Dynamo – was built at the current Mechanical plant workshops site. It had two fields, as well as a walking alley, a fountain, an arbor-pavilion and a monument to Stalin, obligatory in those days. In summer, all matches, sports competitions, as well as parades and demonstrations were held at the stadium, in winter the skating rink was flooded.

But with the onset of cold weather, athletes were forced to share the school’s gym with children. They urgently needed a separate room. However, there was a war, and it was forbidden to build social facilities.

They found a way out in an unexpected place: a heating plant was launched in Norilsk, and the boiler house, which was located in the backyard of Octyabrskaya street, became unnecessary.

As the old-timers recalled, there were many applicants for the vacant building. The main struggle unfolded between the Dynamo sports society and the fermentation shop – the future brewery. As a result, sport won.

Gymnasts themselves laid floors in the former boiler room, assembled bars, rings and crossbars from nothing. And on May 1, 1944, the Dynamo gym was opened, which would later be called small.

Here is how the architect, founder of the Norilsk gymnastics section, Mikhail Bitadze, recalled that:

“I came here and thought that I would find gyms and well-established sports work. But I saw tents, barracks in the tundra and a fierce struggle with nature. Who will win? It seemed that the first Norilsk people had no time for sports. But here we managed to get the premises of the former boiler room.

If only you knew with what enthusiasm young people began to do gymnastics! Soon the number of people who signed up exceeded 80. It would have been difficult for me alone, if not for a young specialist from Leningrad, Dmitry Muravyov, a gymnast and a skier. We carried out classes together”.

Mikhail Bitadze, the future Lenin Prize winner for the pile foundation method, and in 1944 a rehabilitated prisoner, was not only a talented architect, but also a passionate sportsman and a good organizer.

20 years later, Bitadze was already designing the Arctica with its arena and gym. The very first small gym, of course, did not accommodate everyone, but it became a center of attraction for the Norilsk village inhabitants.

In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told that the first bus station in Norilsk was located on Leninsky prospect.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

November 14, 2022

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