I’m grateful to a Russian dude, known variously as Artem, Tema and Halien, for posting a large number of pictures on the net – mainly at www.artemview.blogspot.com – showing Russian lads exercising on the outdoor equipment thoughtfully provided outside the Stalinist apartment blocks in Russian cities. For a while I thought that some of his pictures were from the Ukraine (and maybe they were), but we’re pretty sure now that the bulk of them come from Russia.
Artem’s friends sure like showing off both their acrobatic skills and their strength – let’s start there, with two guys stressing out on the bars with a friend’s help (and perfect abs on the first ‘top’ guy):
In fact, these Russians are heavily into back levers and also shoulder loops: here’s a guy supporting two mates with what may be a trainer looking on:
…whilst you can work on your back lever even without a bar:
We’ve never performed in Russia – in fact, with acts like the Kalutskikh Brothers and Steelkast there, who needs a collection of Brits and Americans! But we do feel rather envious of these Russian boys, in the way the state seems to cater for their desires to build their bodies, and the obvious cameraderie the boys share… ah, yes, the cameraderie:
Not sure whether these two are celebrating some successful gymnastic accomplishment on the kiddie slide in the background, or whether there is more to it… but, dude, lose the sandals, OK? Applies to the first pic too – this horrible footwear seems to be rather frequently worn in Russia. Wouldn’t be seen dead in them myself in any gym – certainly with socks… ugh!
Wherever you go, there are boys enjoying acrobatics at all levels and sharing the successes and occasional failures. It all goes towards making friendships that last, just as our group has lasted over ten years now, with the best friends that Dave and I could possibly wish for. Always encouraging one another, and working hard to produce new tricks.
We’ve been known as many things – Gymnos Extreme Acrobatics being one, although there is an unfortunate association with nudity in that name which wasn’t always intended (but sometimes was exploited!), The Circus of Pain (although that was really our other friends enduring strange tortures whilst we did the acrobatics), Circus Extrême which included all of us, and more, although more recently we’ve simply been incorporated in various combinations into larger touring shows.
Anyway, ‘Good on Yer, Russkies’ – one of the top nations in acrobatic gymnastics, along with Ukraine and our very own United Kingdom. Our world. The one which inspired ‘Living the Dream’.