Incomparable and unforgettable. On the day of Sergei Pavlov’s birth

An outstanding patriot and a true “leader of youth” – that is how his colleagues  sometimes called him. Sergei Pavlov was a man of exceptional talent and his homeland can be proud of it. Everybody who knew Sergei Pavlov personally will agree to that.

Pavlov saw far and wide, had a great erudition, as well as communication talent, therefore he was surrounded by friends, among whom were Komsomol leaders, people of creative professions and cosmonauts.Yuri Gagarin was his close friend. It’s not surprising that today many recall Sergey Pavlov with appreciation – it’s because so many people owe attention, support and understanding of life to him.

An Honorary President of the Russian Olympic Committee and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vitaly Smirnov told about the person he had  worked together with for three decades:

“First and foremost our athletes’ successful performance was connected with Pavlov’s name. Sergei Pavlov headed the Sports Committee in a dramatic moment. He came into sports in 1968 and led the delegation of athletes at the Olympic Games in Mexico, where we lost to the Americans. This situation was perceived very painfully by everybody. He resumed our winning traditions in elite sport. As early as at the Olympic Games in Sapporo our team showed the best result in the team standings, and at the Olympic games in Munich Soviet athletes won unprecedented 50 gold medals. Pavlov has done a lot in the field of scientific staff preparation – the Olympic Reserve Schools started to appear when he was in power. He was a brilliant organizer.

He was a bright and outstanding person, incredibly charming and very handsome man with big blue eyes. He simply hypnotized the audience. People couldn’t say a word when listening to him. Pavlov was a compelling speaker – he spoke very clearly and artistically. He was the favorite of sportsmen and sportswomen, people were ready to follow him. He was a man who led the way. Everybody was dreaming to meet him, to talk to him, and he, in his turn, knew everyone by name, he was aware of the people’s problems and knew what bothered them. His friendly relations in the world of creative youth attracted writers, artists, poets and composers to the Olympic Movement. Pakhmutova, Dobronravov and Robert Rozhdestvensky  were his close friends”.

An Honorary Vice-President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Vladimir Vasin shared his memories:

“First of all, Sergei Pavlov was an outstanding sports organizer. He headed the Sports Committee for 15 years. In my opinion, he was a highly educated, man of wide reading. Under his leadership, the Soviet athletes won six Olympic Games. His personal authority in the international sports sphere largely contributed to the fact that Moscow won the right to host the Olympic Games in 1980. Sergei Pavlov was the initiator and inspirer of hockey matches between Canada and the USSR. Heading the Sports Committee of the USSR, he showed remarkable talent as an organizer and as a creator of the national sports. Our sport was at its highest level then and it was largely due to his efforts”.

Sergei Pavlov was born on January 19, 1929 in the city of Rzhev in a creative family with musical traditions. He graduated from the College of mechanization and electrification of agriculture there.

During the Great Patriotic War Pavlov worked as a postman in a military hospital in Lithuania. Later he was awarded the medal “For Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”. He was proud of this award more than all others.

Pavlov’s Komsomol line started in 1952.

He became the First secretary of the Komsomol Central Committee in 1959, at the age of 29  and he left it when he was 39. Ten years on the position of the First secretary of the Youth Central Committee is a long period. After that he became the Chairman of the State Committee for Physical Culture and Sports of the USSR (1968 – 1983), and then he took up a position as a President of the National Olympic Committee of the USSR (1977-1983). Brezhnev himself called Pavlov regarding his transfer to sport. Sergei Pavlov repeatedly expressed his gratitude for such a high-level appointment.

Sport was Pavlov’s native environment. Working in the field of national Olympism, he completed his studies at the sports institute. Taking into account his knowledge of the “subject” and rich practical experience in implementating his new products he naturally should have received the title of  “professor of sports” – he earned it.

People involved in sports, called those glorious years of the Soviet athletic triumph the SP Epoch. Soviet athletes won the team competition six times in a row –  three times at the summer Olympics and three times at the winter Olympics. At the parades Sergei Pavlov, the Chairman of the Sports Committee of the USSR, was walking ahead of our Olumpic delegations.

In addition, Sergei Pavlov became the main initiator of the Hockey USSR – Canada 1972 Summit Series, in which the Soviet hockey players showed the power of Russian hockey to the world.

However, one of the highlights of his tenure were the Games of the XXII Olympiad in Moscow. Hosting those Games became possible only due to Pavlov’s executive talent, his authority and brilliant friendly relations in the sports sphere all over the world. He had warm and sincere rather then business relations with the family of the founder of the Adidas company Adi Dassler and his daughter Brigitte Dassler Benkler, who headed the legendary sports company after her father. This true friendship  lasted long after Pavlov’s retirement. He was familiar with the President of the NOC of Liechtenstein and the IOC member Baron von Falz-Fein, the President of the NOC of Germany Willi Daume, Mexican NOC President Jose Vazquez Ramirez and many others.

Eighty gold medals won by the Soviet team at the Olympic Games in 1980 became a milestone in world sports history. For his executive talent, shown at the Moscow Olympics, Pavlov was awarded the Order of Lenin.

Sergei Pavlov died in 1993 after a long illness. He was only sixty-four years old –  forty of them he was the member of the nomenclature, doing hard work, meeting with hundreds of thousands of different people, including two general secretaries of the ruling party.

The President of the Russian Olympic Committee and the IOC member Alexander Zhukov said in honor of the event:

“Sergei  Pavlov was definitely a great organizer and an outstanding leader of the national sports movement, who made an invaluable contribution to improving the sports management system and to the development of youth sports. We are now creatively rethinking and developing many of Pavlov’s ideas — they still haven’t lost their relevance”.

On February 12, 2004, following the decision of the ROC Executive Committee Bureau, Sergei  Pavlov was awarded a Badge of Honour “For Merits in Promoting the Olympic Movement in Russia” for his great personal contribution to the development of sport and the Olympic movement in the country.