Olympic Minds, Bodies, and Souls: Sochi in its Soviet Past


The Russian government has made a high-stakes gamble that Sochi, more familiar as a sub-tropical resort, can host the 2014 Winter Olympics. But this new Olympic city is being built over the top of another, one that expressed even greater imagination and ambition. In the Soviet period, Sochi was a socialist resort where workers could temporarily experience the idyllic life that was promised in the communist future. They were also trained to live that life through the careful administration of sleep; diet; exercise; sun, sea, and wind bathing; cultural programming; social interaction; and a surprising array of medical therapies. We will learn how “recreation” was taken literally at the Soviet resort, as a means to produce a new, better human being. The talk will include a demonstration of Franklinization, which revitalized the body by applying a shower of electrical current.