It’s been a while since I’ve done a swimming anthropology post from Russia. That’s mostly because I thought I had everything down in so far as requirements for physical culture here in the Motherland. I wear a swim cap in Russian pools. I hand-carry the flip-flops. I ignore the babushka sitting in the men’s locker room handing out keys. I even have the medical certificate (spravka) with the requisite triangular stamp.
Check out that triangular stamp! That right there proves (!) that I’m healthy (здоров, says it right there!) for activity in a pool. With this little piece of paper I can swim anywhere I want in Russia!
You know where I can’t swim? In Russian open water. Sadly, last night I finally found the положение (the word, polozhenie, means “position” but it is really a very detailed document with all the rules of the event. And I mean detailed (pdf). Like 19 pages worth). Right there in black and white it says that
a). Each competitor must submit to the Organizers before
the beginning of the swim in which he participates, a certificate of health, which is the basis for admission to the Competition.
b). The medical certificate must:
• be issued no earlier than 6 months before the start date of the competitions;
• contain a direct indication that the competitor has been admitted to the [specific] distance chosen by him;
• contain a seal of the medical institution that issued the medical certificate, doctor’s signature and doctor’s seal.
Not only is my spravka lacking in integral information, but it was signed 6 months and 12 days ago. Dammit. Time for another trip to the Russian doc at the embassy for a more specific spravka.
Also written in the polozhenie is a note about insurance. Not sure how I’m supposed to prove to the Russian organizers that I’ve got insurance that covers “risks related to physical training, sports, swimming as a sport, [and] swimming in open water as a subset of swimming.” I see more swimming anthropology posts in this blog’s future.