Am I the only westerner who remembers Spartakiada?

I’ve mentioned it to couple of people, to be met with blank looks. It was this weird synchronised gymnastics display put on every year in a vast stadium, mainly by winsome pubescent girls as I remember, and seemingly always in Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile elderly men in hats, possibly the local Politburo, looked on. I was too young to appreciate the We Celebrate Our Glorious Socialist Youth vibe of the event, although I think I had already picked up enough of distaste for things Eastern Bloc to find it vaguely creepy.

It was shown for a few years by the at-the-time only commercial network here, in its “cheesy Saturday afternoon sports” slot, I think without any care or possibly even awareness on their part of the political overtones of the event. It was presented more in a spirit of “foreigners, what will they get up to next?” But they also made out that Spartakiada was a really big deal in the Eastern bloc, with the youth of that part of the world’s highest aspiration being to form huge geometric patterns in a parade ground outside Prague.

So basically, it was like an Olympic opening ceremony, except a bit more regimental and Nuremberg Rally-ish, and apparently people in Communist countries went nuts for it. Anybody else remember it?

Here’s one that has no idea what your are talking about. Waiting for millions more westerners to reply.

I do remember Menudo and SchoolHouse Rock however.

Yeah, I vaguely remember that. But not by the name–it was the description that rang the bell. They still do things kind of like that in North Korea.


That’s it, yes, except that it would be earnestly linked to by Dickie Davies or, if wet, Fred Dineage (translation: low rent sports presenters). And it was on videotape, not film, and had huge, gaudy SPARTAKIADA! titles and a bemused British commentary.