Category: Biographies


Boris Stenin as a sportsman.

I believe you'll hardly find anyone who'd doubt that Boris Stenin is one of the outstanding speedskaters of our country. He's known not only as a great sportsman, but also as a wonderful trainer, who was at the head of the Soviet national team. We're going to trace his way towards the top of his professionalism.

When he came to his first coach I.V.Zikov in 1950, he was quite a strong 15-year-old boy. He spent his childhood playing different games, which strengthened his body not interfering with its natural development. Every sportsman usually tries several sport clubs before he finally finds the one he likes best. Boris Stenin did so, too. At first he went to a football club, then he tried to join a hockey team, but later, as luck would have it, he went in for speedskating. We don't usually ponder over things that happen to us, but it s these so-called lucky accidents which help us and direct our lives.

In several months Boris Stenin got the 2nd category and the next year he had the 1st. In 1953 as a member of his team he took part in the USSR youth championship for the first time and won the 1st prize at 500 m. In 1956 he became a master of sport of the USSR. As Stenin himself noted, summarizing the results of that period, his first coach didn't allow any rough methodic mistakes to take place, he planned all the trainings rationally, which helped to build a wonderful basis for the following development of the master. They were the first to use roller skates in their training and it improved the results greatly.

From the very beginning of his speedskating career Boris Stenin was very purposeful and hard-working, but at first he didn't think of winning World Championships and Olympic Games, he just felt an overwhelming love for speedskating.

In 1957 he was included into the Soviet national team and E.I.Sopov became his trainer.

In 1958 Boris Stenin took part in his first international competition: match between the USSR and Sweden. He took the 1st place in combination (and also on 500 & 1500 m).

In 1959 - the European Championship in Goteborg. He took the 3rd place at 1500 m and the 7th in combination.

The year 1960 was perhaps the happiest. 25-year-old Stenin became the champion of our country, the second at the ECh in Oslo, the world champion and the owner of "Golden Edelweiss" in Davos. Also he took the 3rd place at the OG in the USA at 1500 m. The latter result wasn't very good as compared to his successful appearance at the WCh with a 2,7 points difference between the 1st and the 2nd place, which is rather a lot for speedskating.

It happened because of Stenin's illness, plus a 2000 m height above sea level. That year Boris Stenin was honoured with the best speedskater title. This annual "Oscar" is given to the sportsman with the most outstanding results of the year.

The next year didn't bring any new 1st prizes, but Boris Stenin was the 3rd at his usual 1500 m at the WCh. It's a regular thing in sports when a very successful period is followed by a decrease in results. It seems like the organism of a person chooses rest for itself, or it may be just a concurrence of circumstances. It's very difficult to win all the championships year in year out in big-time sports. It's a great psychological load which may lead to a recession after a series of victories.

1962 - the Championship of the USSR - the 1st place; the ECh - the 3rd place in combination and the 1st place at 1500 m. That year the WCh was held in Moscow. The number of fans is still an absolute record in speedskating. There were more than 100,000 people there. After 3 distances Stenin was the leader, he was 1,2 points ahead of the 2nd place. But he managed to win only the 4th prize in combination because of the drawing for 10,000 m which didn't let him strive for the 1st prize. But his most significant victory was that at 1500 m over the Dutchman Henk van der Grift.

1963 was a revolutionary year for speedskating, because the Norwegians increased their training loads greatly. Our sportsmen had to catch up with them, but in spite of those difficulties, Boris Stenin won the 1st prize at 500 & 1500 m at ECh and the 4th prize in combination, which was a new record of the USSR.

Having analyzed his achievements and having acquainted himself with the Norwegians methodics, Boris Stenin decided "to have a good training" and performed too many endurance-exercises, which resulted in micro-traumas of muscles. That accident prevented him from being chosen for the OG in 1964.

It was the end of Stenin's speedskating career and the beginning of his work as a trainer.


Boris Stenin as a trainer.

29-year-old Stenin began to work as a trainer in Sverdlovsk. In two years the team of Sverdlovsk became the champion of the Spartakiad of peoples of the USSR. After that he was invited to the Soviet National Team as a main coach. He spent that time acquiring the necessary experience. Despite the fact that in recent years Boris Stenin with his coach had been making a careful study of the training experience of the most outstanding speedskaters, he still didn't have extensive practical knowledge. After the OG in Grenoble he began to work at the Central State Institute of Physical Education (CSIPE). In 1973 he was invited to lead the women's national team, but that time he became a practicing coach, who trained such famous pupils as Averina, Statkevich, Brindsey, Lalenkova, Stepanskaya and other. 6 months of work brought success, though the recent years weren t very lucky for our sportswomen. Everything was going in the line of ascent and medals seemed to be raining down! In two years 8 new world achievements were established (Averina & Statkevich).

In 1976 our women-speedskaters won 3 golden and 2 bronze medals at the OG in the Austrian city Innsbruck and took the 1st place.

The season of 1977 was unique for all the speedskaters of the world, as the WCh was to take place in Keystone at a height of 2750 m above sea level at the natural ice of the mountain lake. Well aware of the alpine conditions, Boris Stenin put into practice a new methodic approach in training. The team was training at the alpine skating-rink Medeo at a height of 1600 m above sea level, and for better acklimatisation the sportswomen went hiking twice a microcycle, climbing at a height of 3500 m. When our women came to the WCh , they got accustomed better than other sportswomen and took up all the podium in combination and won at all the distances.

1978 - T.Averina won the WCh in Oslo, Stepanskaya took the 2nd place, Lalenkova - the 4th.

At the OG - 1980 - in Lake-Placid N. Petrusyova won the 1st prize at 1000 m and the 3rd at 500 m. That year she also won at the WCh in Hamar.

In 1981 new sportswomen such as Glebova, Tarasova, Pleshkova, Kurova entered the international scene. At the WCh Tarasova was the 2nd, having won at 500 and 1500 m. In 1982 Glebova won the 1st prize at 500 m at the WCh.

At the OG - 1984 - in Sarajevo the results of the women's team were regarded as unsatisfying by the leaders, in spite of 3 bronze medals. Stenin was dismissed and he returned to his scientific and teaching work at the institute.


Boris Stenin as a scientist and a teacher.

During the years 1969-1972 Stenin is a post-graduate student and a teacher at the Central State Institute of Physical Education.

In 1970 he publishes the book "Training of the world's strongest speedskaters", in which he summarises the foreign sportsmen' experience and gives scientific grounds for physiological and biochemical aspects, that change because of trainings. He also defines and points out the zones of intensity of trainings.

In 1973 he writes a Candidate dissertation "Factors defining the level of speedskaters' proficiency".

Since 1984 he has published many works, books on the problems of speedskating and scientific articles. Stenin did a tremendous amount of work, summarizing the knowledge about tactical training of skaters, about the changes in evaluating highly qualified sportsmen (speed, tempo, frequency of steps).

In 1994 he writes a thesis for a Doctor's degree "Theoretico-methodical basis for mastering speedskating during many years of training".

Boris Stenin till his death (January, 18, 2001) continued his scientific and teaching work, he was a member of the International Skating Union, he also was the head of the Department of Speedskating.



I think that enough victories, titles and records of Boris Stenin and his pupils have been listed above. Now no one can doubt that he was one of the outstanding sportsmen and trainers of our country. What's the secret of his success? People usually think that great sportsmen never make good trainers, but Stenin disproved this with his trainer's and scientific work. A talented person always shows his worth in any occupation, if he works for the sake of others, if he is absorbed in search, doubt, risk and self-sacrifice. Doesn't the wish to skate faster mean spending sleepless nights, thinking about how to do it, what methods to use, what technical and tactical innovations to bring in?

Perhaps it was to the point when in 1969 Boris Stenin was dismissed from the main trainer's work, because he had acquired the necessary experience, and then returned to books, like a pupil, getting theoretical knowledge, which led to good results later. Only such an active person, as Stenin, could walk several kilometres a day for 2 months to watch and analyse the leading Dutch speedskaters taining in Heerenveen, which resulted in writing the book "Training of the world's greatest speedskaters".

The main principles of Boris Stenin are creative approach, large amount of theoretical and practical knowledge, and the most important is individual attitude towards his pupils.

Boris Stenin had some risky moments in his trainer's career. For instance, when one month and a half was left before the OG, Stenin with the 2 leading sportswomen Averina and Statkevich went to Alma-Ata, having missed several international competitions. Of course, the leaders weren't pleased, and who knows what could have hapened to Boris Stenin at that time, but he insisted and managed to justify his risky decision. He turned out to be right in the end. T. Averina won 4 medals at the OG, and the 2 of them were golden.

Certainly, Stenin's work wasn't always successful. There were failures and recessions, but everyone has them at one time or another. One learns from one's own mistakes, especially if one analyses them and makes right conclusions.

Boris Stenin devoted his life to the work he loved and till his death he continued to work with enthusiasm and interest to popularise speedskating, tooking part in scientific conferences; the trainers of the Russian national team often address to him in search of advice. Many specialists believe, that the methodical research, made by him long ago, are still up-to-date.

I'd like to finish with Boris Stenin's words: "A trainer can be called big only if he walks one step ahead and brings new ideas to students".