Anatoly Tarasov’s 101st Birthday – “Even though there is a limit on how fast a hockey player can skate… there is no limit to creative endeavors and progress.” –Anatoly Tarasov
Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Marseille-based guest artist Nadya Mira, celebrates Russian coach Anatoly Tarasov, widely known as the “father of Russian hockey,” on his 101st birthday. Under his leadership, the Russian (then USSR) national team won every Ice Hockey World Championship for 9 consecutive years, won 11 European championships, and took home 3 Olympic gold medals. Tarasov’s visionary tactics and will to win put his opponents on ice.
A proficient bandy player, Tarasov was given the task to implement a Soviet hockey program from the ground up after World War II. The Moscow native developed a unique coaching style, focusing both on the individual player’s mastery while demanding a team-first attitude, as well as integrating modified elements from other sports like bandy, soccer, and even ballet to produce champions.
Rival nations often attempted to mimic Tarasov’s approach. A coach from the U.S. asked Tarasov to reveal his secrets and was met with: “There is no secret in hockey. There is imagination, hard work, discipline, and dedication to achieving whatever the goal is.”
His ingenious methods influenced the game worldwide and left a mark on hockey that is still felt globally to this day. In 1974, Tarasov became the first European coach to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, as well as the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 1997.
С днём рождения, Anatoly Tarasov!
Guest Artist Q&A with Nadya Mira
Today’s Doodle was created by Marseille-based guest artist Nadya Mira. Below, she shares her thoughts behind the making of this Doodle:
Q: Why was this topic meaningful to you personally?
A: I was impressed that Anatoly Tarasov did not betray his principles when the state demanded it from him, and that he was not broken when he went against the system.
Q: Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A: I always associate hockey with the works of the great Soviet director Boris Dyozhkin [award-winning Russian animator famous for cartoon films about sports in the 1960s, including Шайбу! Шайбу! (Puck! Puck!) about hockey*]. There are several Soviet cartoons about the sport which were very popular at the same time that the Soviet Union was dominating hockey. My animation teacher, Sasha Dorogov, was very inspired by Dyozhkin, and then, much later, taught me to draw. So it’s like I can draw thanks to Tarasov, too.
Q: What message do you hope people take away from your Doodle?
A: Stand by your principles.
Early sketch and draft of the Doodle
You can find more about Anatoly Tarasov’s 101st Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page