The 32nd Olympic Games, which had been set for Tokyo this July and August, have been put back by at least a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. What does the world’s biggest sporting postponement to date mean for the Czech Republic’s athletes? And how hard has it hit the Czech Olympic Committee’s budget? I discussed those questions and more with COC president Jiří Kejval.
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.
A government prohibition on events in the Czech Republic attended by 100 or more people is naturally having a major impact on sports in the country. The organisers of the two biggest sports leagues, in football and ice hockey, are taking a different approach to the measure introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
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.
Czech professional rock climber Adam Ondra is the only male athlete in the sport to have won World Championship titles in the “lead climbing” and “bouldering” categories in a single year. Along with the category of “speed” – for the first time ever – those disciplines will be a part of the Olympic Games as of 2020, under the catchall category of “sport climbing”.
The Czech Republic’s footballers have greatly boosted their chances of reaching Euro 2020 after beating England 2:1 in Prague. Friday night’s game was a genuine fairy tale for Zdeněk Ondrášek, who at the age of 30 scored on his debut to claim victory. For his part, England’s Harry Maguire described the strike as a sucker punch, admitting his side hadn’t deserved to take an early lead.