With the Summer Olympics now looming, it’s probably appropriate to look a bit deeper at the life and times of probably the greatest Czechoslovak athlete ever, the distance runner Emil Zátopek. It was Zátopek who astoundingly won a trio of gold medals at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres and the marathon, amazingly a distance that he had never competed at before.
The tributes have flowed in from across the European footballing world after the shock news that former Czech and Newcastle goalkeeper Pavel Srníček died on Tuesday at the age of 47. Srníček was capped for his country 49 times from the mid 1990s to 2002 but was best known for his role between the posts for his beloved Newcastle United.
The sportswear of Czech athletes at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will bear a simple sketch, a self-portrait drawn by the legendary long-distance runner Emil Zátopek, the Czech Olympic Committee revealed on Tuesday. Zátopek´s drawing will also be a part of the Czech logo. Artist Milan Jaroš who produced the logo said he had made only one alteration on Emil Zátopek’s sketch he changed the expression on the runner´s face. The original one did not smile, Jaroš said.
Vladimír Kobranov, a member of the Czech hockey team which won the 1949 World Championship died on Sunday at the age of 88. The former defenceman, inducted in the Czech Hockey Hall of Fame, played for the national team from 1947 -1949 and scored 18 goals in 29 matches. In 1950, after the Communists seized power, Mr Kobranov was sent to prison following a political show trial and released five years later. He went on to play for Pardubice and Zlín and left Czechoslovakia in 1968 when he moved to Switzerland. Besides winning the Worlds, Mr Kobranov was a silver medallist from the 1948 Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz.
Veteran members of the Czech national football team, who finished second in the European Championships at Wembley at Euro ’96, reunited in Prague on Monday to face fellow veterans from the German squad, who won the championship. The Czech team, featuring legends like Pavel Nedvěd, Patrik Berger, Karel Poborský, Pavel Kuka and others faced a squad led by Lothar Matthaus at Prague’s Eden Stadium. In ‘96 the Czechs lost 2:1 on a golden goal in extra time; on Monday the Czechs, under former national team coach Dušan Uhřín, dominated 6:3. Euro ’96 featured many unforgettable moments including Karel Poborský’s famous lob against Portugal goalkeeper Vítor Baía in the quarterfinal.
Former Czechoslovak ice hockey and soccer international Vlastimil Bubník has died at the age of 83. Bubník was part of the ice hockey team that took bronze at the 1964 Winter Olympics and earned three World Championship medals. He played for Brno ice hockey club as well as the football club RH Brno. Between 1957 and 1960 he made 11 appearances for Czechoslovakia’s soccer team, including at the European Nations’ Cup, scoring four goals.
Theirs was one of the greatest tennis rivalries in the open era: John McEnroe versus Ivan Lendl. McEnroe, best-known for his legendary temper and exceptional serve-and-volley, and Lendl, famous for his ice-cold expression and heavy baseline hits, faced each other on dozens of occasions and the rivalry was intense. Today, though, as the veteran players prepare to meet in Bratislava, both say they are on far better terms than some might expect.
A statue of the famous Czech long-distance runner Emil Zátopek has been unveiled at a sports stadium in Zlín, south Moravia. The four-time Olympic champion used to run at the Stadium of Youth and met his wife Dana at the venue. The life-sized bronze sculpture, which is by Radim Hanke, depicts Zátopek running in his trademark pained-looking style and stands metres from the stadium’s 400m track.
Next Monday a group of fans of Bohemians 1905 are setting off on a huge adventure. The supporters are heading to Australia to retrace a famous 1920s tour that gave the Prague soccer club both their name and their “kangaroo” logo. Among the party visiting 10 cities Down Under will be Darek Jakubowicz, whose family company are coincidentally majority shareholders and main sponsors of Bohemians. When he visited our studio, I first asked Darek how the original tour had come about.
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