Collection Exhibition: Leipzig 1977

Leipzig scrapbookFor one week in 1977, from July 25 to 31, Leipzig hosted the East German 6th Sports and Gymnastics Festival (VI.Turn und Sportfest). While this athletic festival occurred eight times beginning in 1954, 1977 was a significant year in the competition’s history because it marked the first time the Sports Festival coincided with the VI.Spartakiade, the children’s and youth athletic competition. The simultaneous occurrence of these two events in Leipzig resulted in the most spectacular multi-sport event, displaying an image of grandeur in the GDR to both citizens and outsiders. The festival encouraged the involvement of professional athletics, but also invited a wide array of ordinary citizens to produce musical performances, execute choreographed flag events, engage as spectators at the various programs and purchase commemorative memorabilia. Examination of this festival and the material culture it generated reveals many key characteristics of East German sport culture and its official representation.