By Arnd Krüger
The scientist L.P. Matveyev studied the question why some soviet participants of the 1952 and 1956 had reached their personal bests at the summer Olympics – and some had not. By analyzing their training he developed the concept for peaking at the right time: Periodization. The concept was tested and was the basis first for soviet, then for Eastern Block success at the Olympics and other major international championships. The training of GDR athletes for the 1968 Olympics was periodized, West Germany followed in 1972. The West German translation of Matveyev served as basis for the French version, while the American version developed directly from the Romanian adaptation by Bompa. The development of the concept will be followed up to the present time when the success of Norwegian cross-country skiing is based on Matveyev. As Matveyev’s theories are based on Pavlov, it was questioned after the fall of the USSR by Platonov who favored a more individualized biologically based version. The current discussion on block periodization is used to show that the concept is still alive and developed further by Issurin and others. The cultural differences which permit or refuse the acceptance of the concept into a national system will be discussed.