ANY gymnast in Russia aiming to be a high flyer will always strive to join the Russian national team (formerly USSR), which has been training for many decades at the camp called “Ozero Krugloye” (Round Lake), just 20 miles off the city of Moscow. ‘Ozero Krugloye’, situated on a plot of 96,000 square meters and surrounded by a woodland park, serves as a training base for the swimming, fencing and gymnastics national teams.
This training center has been in existence since 1953 and was used as a skiing camp run by the Moscow Institute of Physical Culture and Sports. It has been modernised in preparation for the Olympic Games in 1980. The sports complex is located in a green area near the town of Zelenograd, right next to the picturesque ‘Lake Krugloye’.
In fact, the “Lake Krugloye” is the only Russian centralised base which operates the whole year round. Athletes have been given all the necessary conditions not only for the preparation for major international events but also the perfect conditions for studying (classrooms and its own library), resting, recovering, nutrition and a comfortable living. On site athletes have access to the professional crew including coaches, doctors and masseurs. You will certainly not find an identical training center available on the vast territory of Russia.
“There is no lack of high quality equipment, – explains the junior team doctor Grigory Marsov. – Anything that we need and ask for is purchased immediately. The quality of our equipment is the same as that of the good health clinic – and much better than most foreign teams have. Compared to ours, foreign national teams have a different – sports club – system: a specialist doctor will consult an athlete once or twice a week after which the physio and massage therapists will take over. What we have is a serious permanent medical control and advanced medical equipment. For example, the unit of the shock-wave therapy costs about 2 million rubles (around $63,000 USD). There are few clubs in the world that can actually afford it”.
One of the mandatory parts of the training program on “Ozero Krugloye” is massage. Massages are made to all athletes every night, plus an extra one during a break in-between the training. As you can imagine the national team is never far away from the massage table. In fact, the very first step on the arrival to the competition is to set up the massage table at the hotel.
There are two gymnastics teams training in the center – national and pre-elite. This helps to establish the succession of the athletes’ generations in both physical and mental way and prepare younger athletes for the amount of workload similar to one in the in older age category.
The former head coach of the Russian women’s national team Alexander Alexandrov says: “Raising a gymnastics champion usually takes at least ten years. Every day it is advisable to train at least six hours but in the end it all depends on the training conditions. Unfortunately, to date, we don’t have all the gymnastics halls available for running the training sessions twice a day, as it was back in the USSR. The squad team trains two-three times per day and at this level we have split them up into the national and pre-elite teams, and also the junior team where you will find the youngest girls of all”.
Take a virtual tour of the ‘Ozero Krugloye’ sports facilities HERE.