High jumping won't be my only interest this year. I was married two weeks ago to Marina Larionova, a gymnast who has gone to the Physical Culture Institute with me. We will continue to train there, but we want to get on with our lives too. After my jumping days are over I intend to teach physical education. I like sport very much, but it isn't the only thing in my life. It should, in my opinion, be taken up in one's leisure. Sport is both recreation and joy. I've always objected to the system of professional sport. Incidentally, it doesn't exist in the Soviet Union—every Soviet athlete works in his main profession or his trade.
My New Year's resolutions are to finish my third year at the Institute with excellent marks, see some new plays in Moscow theaters, read more well-written books on various subjects and prove to my stubborn friend, Sergei Lopatin, ex-world record holder in the lightweight division of weight lifting, that I'm a better chess player than he. I also want to help young athletes. Right now I have a very young pen pal, Volodya Kolganov, who has jumped 5 feet 5. Helped by the U.S.S.R.'s physical education program, he will improve. Grade schools and college in my country have classes in almost all sports. Besides, young athletes are trained in junior sports schools and later in sports associations. Their tutors are all experienced men.
I am looking forward to a keen rivalry with Joe Faust and Gene Johnson and, of course, John Thomas. I know that Faust has already cleared 7 feet 1, and that Johnson is just behind him, although he keeps to the outdated Western roll style. I hope that our rivalry will see my indoor record of 7 feet 4� fall. There is no reason why it shouldn't.