Reinvigorated Sports and Olympic Museum to open for visitors on Saturday

"Terevisioon" host Liisu Lass behind the wheel of a racing simulator. Source: ERR

ETV's morning show "Terevisioon" spent Friday at the Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum in Tartu, where recent reconstruction has modernized the largest sports museum in the Baltics.

Museum head Siim Randoja said the museum has completely chaged: "Completely different. Everything we have had here for the last years or decades, the changes can be hard to grasp, in the best way. The option of putting all these things out to exhibit, offer hands-on experiences - the museum has turned into a sports entertainment center for the whole family."

Randoja continued: "It is true, we are the largest in the Baltics but when we started this process of becoming a permanent exhibition and improving our services, we took an even more ambitious goal of becoming one of the most attractive sports museums of Europe and we can say today that we have taken a large step toward that."

"Terevisioon" hosts Liisu Lass and Owe Petersell visited the museum and took part in many of the hands-on exhibitions, including getting "in" a virtual bobsled and racing in a driving simulator.

A symbolic piece of glass

After basketball team Tallinna Kalev won the Soviet Union's Premier Basketball League in 1991, celebrations took over the entire court. The giant glass trophy given to the team was passed around from player to player, coach to coach until it ended up getting dropped on the floor in the middle of team, shattering into fragments. That was the last time anyone saw the trophy in its full glory, however.

Basketball fan and musician Robert Kõrvits spoke to "Terevisioon" on Friday about his favorite team as a child. "I was 11 years old then and remember the day very well because I was then, and still am, a big basketball fan. I went to see each Kalev game at that time. The Soviet Union was collapsing and the house of cards stood for only a few more moments after Kalev became champions of the Soviet Union. It was an amazing moment. I was there as a little boy and emotions were at a peak," Kõrvits said.

He continued: "Kalev then received a large trophy and players, as they would, raised it high above their heads but then it was placed on the ground. Then, a man came onto the court - I think he still walks around Tallinn to this day, I do not know his name - and grabbed Gert Kullamäe from behind. He lifted Kullamäe up who inadvertently kicked the trophy, shattering it. The trophy they were just handed and symbolized that the best country in the Soviet Union was Estonia. It was a victory over the occupation."

"The trophy shattered into pieces and somehow, as a boy, I reacted and went and grabbed one of the shards. The situation got out of hand there after that and Riho Soonik, then-manager of Kalev, told everyone to get off the court and that it is covered in broken glass. I saw the pieces being put into a paper basket and taken to the players' locker room. I was left thinking about what I was going to do with my piece of glass," he added

Kõrvits' piece never did end up in that garbage bin: "Half an hour later, when most had left the arena, I decided to go to the locker room. I saw the paper basket filled with pieces of glass at the end of the hall. To the right was the mens' locker room, which did not have a door then. I snuck by, but Aleksander Karavajev, who was about six times as tall as I was, was in the shower. He saw me and yelled for me to get out of there."

"I then thought: 'Okay, a naked Karavajev, I do not know how fast he can run and if he might chase me'. I then ran all the way out of there, grabbing one more piece of the trophy, though Karavajev did not give chase," the musician continued.

One of the pieces did end up in the museum, however: "So I actually got two pieces, but I only have one left myself. I do not know where the other ended up. So this one is now the property of the Sports and Olympic Museum," Kõrvits concluded.

Robert Kõrvits ja Kaarel Antons Autor/allikas: ERR


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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