New Horizons in Leadership Studies series
Chapter 9: World Class Heroes for Russia Commentary: Olga Sloutsker, Heroine for a New Russia
9. World Class heroes for Russia World Class ﬁtness centers have given us the gift of harmony in body and spirit. Before, we used to persuade ourselves that physical appearance is not important, as a human being is made beautiful by rich internal content. That’s right – an internal content makes one beautiful. However, the human body is a home for one’s soul, at least a temporary one. Why then should a beautiful soul waste its time in a house that is falling apart? World Class is the founder of the ﬁtness movement in Russia. It was the ﬁrst to offer unique ﬁtness and health improvement programs (about 55 in total) that miraculously rid us of everything unnecessary – extra kilos, illnesses, complexes and fears.1 When we ﬁrst read this description of World Class ﬁtness centers in a Russian magazine, we found it somewhat incredible. ‘Miraculously rid us of everything unnecessary’ … sounds good, sign us up! But seriously, we wondered, what kind of organization is this, and how does it work? The concept of ﬁtness was never a marketable commodity in Communist times. Generations of Russians had grown up accustomed to the Soviet-era exercise experiences. They all had been – at least once – to state-owned sports facilities for the masses. These were inexpensive or even free, but permeated with what was called the ‘Soviet horrors’. They were small, dirty and infested with cockroaches. The ﬁtness machines were cobbled together with whatever parts were available, and placed in tiny rooms without air-conditioning. The swimming...
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