Final farewells were paid to the great gymnast Věra Čáslavská at Prague’s National Theatre on Monday. Athletes from across the generations, ministers and other notable figures from Czech public life expressed their respect for the nation’s most successful Olympian, who passed away two weeks ago at the age of 74.
The sad news was announced on Wednesday that the most successful ever Czech Olympic athlete, Věra Čáslavská, died at the age of 74. She had been battling cancer of the pancreas. The gymnast will be remembered not just for her medals but for her protest against the Soviet bloc invasion of Czechoslovakia at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
Former footballer Jiří Tichý, a member of the Czechoslovak national squad that finished silver at the 1962 World Cup in Chile, losing in the final to Brazil, has died at the age of 82. The news that he passed away on Friday was released by football club Slavoj Podivín which the former defender used to coach. In the 1962 final in Chile, Czechoslovakia opened the scoring but went on to lose 3:1.
One of the Czech attractions at the Rio Olympics will be dozens of pairs of electric-powered life-sized legs in memory of the country’s famous long-distance runner Emil Zatopek. The Zatopek legs were created by artist David Černý who drew the crowd at the 2012 Olympics in London with a red double-decker bus that performed push-ups. The flesh-colored legs are all wearing running shorts and black boots in a reference to Zatopek's training regime. They are fixed to walls or suspended from ceilings from the waist, moving at the rate of about one step per second.
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.
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