16-11-2003

In this week's Mailbox, we answer your letters and e-mails about our two new voices at Radio Prague, the future of the popular giant "Spartakiada" stadium, and announce the winner of our monthly listeners' competition.

Let us start with the Radio Prague listeners' competition. Some of you may wonder why we decided to wait so long to announce last month's winner. Well, the truth is that we have realised that the question was not a simple one and several letters came in by post several days after the deadline. This time, we've included those entries because some of you, especially those who do not have easy access to the Internet, really needed time to research.

But let's turn to some questions. Nancy Gold from the London area in the UK heard our report on the construction of a new stadium at Strahov in Prague and wrote in with the following question:

"You mentioned that a new stadium would be built at the site of the Evzen Rosicky stadium, which is next to the bigger one that was used for mass gymnastics displays. I remember that stadium. It was especially popular during the Communist years with thousands of people attending what they called the Spartakiada, synchronised exercise displays. Is the stadium being used for anything today?"

Well the Sparta Prague football club has rented the stadium for ninety-nine years and recently opened a Sparta Prague training centre. It truly is a giant stadium with six large fields and two smaller ones. So, it's not a traditional stadium and spectators cannot see what's going on, on all fields. In order to turn it into a stadium with 100,000 seats, it would have to be completely re-constructed or even torn down and constructed from scratch. Nobody wants to do that and it would, of course, cost much more than the Evzen Rosicky stadium project.

As most of you have probably noticed already, we have two new voices on the air - Zuzana Vesela and Coilin O'Connor. Since some of you have written to us to find out more about them, I've asked them to come in and introduce themselves briefly:

"Hi. My name is Coilin O'Connor and I was born and reared in Dublin, Ireland. I have been living in Prague for nearly seven years and I initially came here for a holiday but it looks like I have inadvertently settled here and have become a permanent fixture in Prague with my girlfriend and my two cats Tonda and Micha."

"Hello. My name is Zuzana Vesela and I study English and German at the Institute of Translation Studies at Charles University. Actually, I never intended to study languages but at the age of twelve, knowing only two German words, I happened to attend a school in Austria and later on spent a year in the USA. I would like to say hello to my American family and I hope that not just they but you too will tune in to hear me on air about two times a week."

It's time now for the Radio Prague competition and we have a new question: "What building close to Prague's Old Town Square is connected with cubism?" Since we're already in mid-November, you have until the end of December to get your entries to us. And we realise that this also requires a bit of research, especially from those of you without an Internet connection and listening to us in Asia and Africa. If you continue to tune in to Radio Prague, you'll get the answer as we'll be focusing on this building in one of our features in the future.

It's also time to announce the winner of last month's competition. The question was "Who is the Czech Republic's most popular contemporary flute player?" The answer is Jiri Stivin and the lucky winner is Mr Don Schumann. Mr Schumann has been drawn out of our hat but has sent us an e-mail without specifying where he is from. Hopefully our e-mail will get to him and we'll get a reply with contact details in time. If not, we'll just have to draw another name. But it's congratulations from the Radio Prague team - Mr Schumann has won a Jiri Stivin CD.

16-11-2003