A bronze statue of the legendary Czech runner Emil Zatopek, who famously won three long-distance gold medals at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, has just been erected in a very fitting location - the garden of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. Zatopek's widow Dana, who herself won gold in the javelin at the Helsinki Olympics, was at Tuesday's unveiling and said she was pleased with how the statue had turned out.
"I hadn't seen the statue in that size, just a small model, and I was a bit afraid that there would be some problem, that he'd look too fat or something. That's not the case; it turned out well and I'm really pleased with it."
Also present at the unveiling of the statue of Emil Zatopek were the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacque Rogge, and the greatest Czech athlete of the modern age, Jan Zelezny. Zelezny, who has himself won three Olympic golds in the javelin, was asked if he would like to be immortalised in a statue at the Olympic Museum.
"No, no, they usually put these things up - I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings - after your death, and I'd like to live a lot longer. And I think they should only have people here who have really achieved something exceptional."
As for Jan Zelezny himself, he is currently recovering from a back operation, and is planning to start light training again next week; he intends to travel to South Africa in January, as he does every year, for an intensive training camp. In the longer term, Zelezny says he hopes to end his career after the 2004 Olympics in Athens, when he will be 38.
Czech internationals have been having a mixed time of it in the greatest event in club football, the Champions League. Jan Koller scored with a header following a free from fellow Czech Tomas Rosicky, though his goal was not enough to secure victory for Dortmund, with Eindhoven getting one back to make it a draw. After heaps of praise in the UK media, Liverpool's Milan Baros won't have enjoyed reading Wednesday's sports pages - he was widely criticised for blowing two clear chances. Not to worry though, Liverpool won 3:1 anyway. And Pavel Nedved of Juventus was - like his teammates - clearly frustrated in a game against Newcastle, which Juve lost 1:0.
Staying with European football, there have been press reports that the mighty AC Milan are interested in Slavia Prague's Stepan Vachousek. A Slavia official said however that contact between the two clubs was still 'platonic'.
The Czech tennis number one Jiri Novak is planning to take part in next week's Paris Masters, despite not having fully recovered from a recent thigh injury which saw him pull out of the final of the Madrid Masters. Novak needs to play in order to be a hundred percent sure of a place at the season's climax, the Masters Cup in Shanghai.
There has been no change at the top of ice hockey's Extraliga, after Pardubice beat the hapless Havirov 4:2 on Tuesday, leaving the Moravians even further behind at the bottom of the table. And the most dramatic result from the latest round of games was Slavia's 9:0 slaughtering of Liberec.
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