Võimlemiselts Kiirasaare

W/ Lewis McGuffie
Tallinn, Estonia, Fall, 2014

While researching the history of sport in Estonia for an upcoming project in Tallinn, Lewis McGuffie and I stumbled upon the existence a small yet fascinating sport club from the island of Saaremaa. The organization, Võimlemiselts Kiirasaare or Kiirasaare Fitness club, was located in the far west of the island in the tiny hamlet of Kiirasaare. Not much is known about the club, but we were able to dig up this photograph in the municiple archives in Kuressaare, Saaremaa's administrive center. The photograph is dated 1873 and shows a six man team of an unknown sport. The caption of the photograph reads " VK team with Dr. Ants Lepmets and stone ball. L-R B. Lõhmus, R. Sepp, M.Kohuke, T.Pütsep, H. Soosaar, K. Kalm, T. Gonzalez, A. Lepmets.

We wanted to find out more about these players, and combed the census records of the Kreis Ösel, the then county of the Governate of Livonia. We weren't able to find much, but we did learn that Dr. Lemsets was registered as a dentist in the town of Kihelkonna, and that one of the players was Tiit Pütsep, who lived in the village of Toomalõuka. In this preliminary search we were unable to find any more information on the players, but we are continuing to investigate.

In honor of this discovery, we decided to make a small batch of t shirts based on the design of Võimlemiselts Kiirasaare's 1873 uniforms. Lewis recreated what looks to be three flying fish, probably the mascot of VK and painstakingly restored their logo. With the help of Mari Prekup at Grafodroom print shop we printed 100 shirts and twelve pinneys for upcoming games at Kumu, Estonia's national museum.

Shirts hot off the press
First new VK team, youth Bootballer's at Lagne Gymnasium
Võimlemiselts Kiirasaare playing Mercury at Kumu Museum