Dana Zátopková – one of the greatest Czech sportswomen of all time and a national sweetheart – died last Friday at the blessed age of 97. The winner of two Olympic medals and one-time world record holder in the javelin-throwing category was also known as the wife of the legendary runner Emil Zátopek.
Czechoslovakia had arguably the best national ice hockey team in the world for years after the Second World War – despite the Communists side-lining a slew of “politically unreliable” star players on the road to building socialism. We look back at the roots of a historic pub brawl and police raid 70 years ago, after frustrated hockey players blew the whistle on official lies.
Retired forward Václav Nedomanský has become the second Czech to be inducted into ice hockey’s Hall of Fame. A member of the Czechoslovak world championship winning team in 1972, was the first player from behind the Iron Curtain to defect and play in the NHL. Nedomanský joins goaltender Dominik Hašek, who is the only other Czech to receive this accolade.
Sport has always played a big role in Czech life. At the time of the national revival in the 19th century, the Sokol gymnastics movement was founded on the idea that a healthy body was a recipe not only for a healthy mind, but also for a civilised nation. In this episode of our series drawing from the archives, we hear recordings from the huge Sokol gathering of 1938 and from the Spartakiáda displays of mass callisthenics that replaced Sokol during the communist period. We also feature an ice hockey report from the Olympics in 1936, as well as Europe’s
The legendary Czech striker Josef Kadraba has died at the age of 85, the
football club Slavia Prague reported on Twitter on Monday.
Kadraba played for Slavia in the years 1965-1967 helping the club return to the first league.
He played 17 matches for the Czechoslovak national team, scoring 9 goals altogether.
In the 1962 FIFA World Cup he scored a decisive goal against Yugoslavia, helping the Czechoslovak team win the silver medal.
The legendary runner Emil Zátopek and his wife Dana, a javelin thrower, made history at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, when they won altogether four gold medals for Czechoslovakia. The story of one of the world’s most famous sporting couples is the focus of a new film by David Ondříček, which has just started shooting.
Czech hockey coach Luděk Bukač has died at the age of 83.
He led the national team to victory in the 1985 and 1996 world championships in Prague and Vienna and helped the team to a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo.
The president of the Czech Hockey Association Tomáš Král highlighted Bukač’s contribution to Czech hockey, saying the country had lost a great hockey coach and a great man.
Exactly 50 years ago today, the Czechoslovak national ice hockey team beat the Soviets in the world championships for a second time, setting off a series of celebrations – which soon turned into protests, at times violent, against the ongoing Warsaw Pact occupation. Though a moral victory, in a sense it proved a Pyrrhic one.
Thursday is the 50th anniversary of perhaps the most famous protest in the history of Czech sport, when gymnast Věra Čáslavská looked away while the Soviet anthem was played at the 1968 Olympics. The brave gesture came two months after the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia – and cost the country’s greatest Olympian dear.
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