Published March 13, 2013
MOSCOW – Russia's President Vladimir Putin has called for the revival of the Soviet-era physical evaluation program that required all schoolchildren to pass fitness tests.
Putin, a judo enthusiast and a regular swimmer, said Wednesday that the restoration of GTO, the Russian acronym for Ready for Labor and Defense, would teach children to "to stand up for themselves, their family and, in the final run, the Fatherland."
GTO, which was introduced in 1931 under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's rule, required all schoolchildren to regularly pass physical training tests. Those managing to qualify would receive silver- or gold-colored badges.
The program gradually lost its scope and prestige over the years and ceased to exist with the 1991 Soviet collapse. Since then, schools largely have been left on their own regarding physical training standards.