The Czech Republic celebrated its first victory at the ice-hockey World Cup when it beat Germany 7-2 at Prague's Sazka arena on Friday evening. The win means the Czechs finish the round-robin stage in third place. At the quarter finals on Tuesday, they will face the losers of Saturday's game between Finland and Sweden.
Just over two weeks ago the Czech Republic lost one of its all-time great sports heroes, former hockey player and later coach, Ivan Hlinka, who was killed in a car accident just outside the west Bohemian town of Karlovy Vary. In this Special we look back at Ivan Hlinka - the player, the hockey legend - as recalled by players and friends, a man mourned by many and now sorely missed.
In Sports News: the closing weekend of the Athens Olympics was disappointing for the Czech Republic, with Jan Zelezny finishing ninth in the javelin and other athletes narrowly missing out on medals; the Czech ice hockey team are preparing for their opening game at the sport's World Cup; Tomas Galasek looks set to miss the Czech football team's first World Cup qualifier on Wednesday week.
Vladimir Ruzicka will coach the Czech ice hockey team at the forthcoming World Cup, following the tragic death of Ivan Hlinka on Monday. The 1998 Olympic winning Czech team coached by Hlinka was captained by Ruzicka, and the two men were good friends. The Czech Extraliga is expected to start a week later than planned, to accommodate Ruzicka, who coaches the club Slavia Prague.
The coach of the Czech national hockey team, Ivan Hlinka, has died in hospital from injuries sustained in a car accident on Monday morning. Mr Hlinka was returning to Prague from the spa town of Karlovy Vary when his car collided head on with a truck going the opposite direction. The truck driver is reportedly at fault, having poorly timed an attempt to overtake another car. Ivan Hlinka, aged 54, was best known for leading the Czech hockey team to victory in the 1998 Winter Olympics held in Nagano, Japan.
In Sports News: Katerina Kurkova has won the first Czech medal at the Athens Olympics - we have the reactions of both the shooter herself and her trainer father; tennis number one Jiri Novak has beaten Tim Hemnan in Athens, while Martina Navratilova is enjoying her first games. In other sports: Robert Lang has been named Czech ice hockey player of the year, and football goalkeeper Petr Cech has got off to a great star at glamour club Chelsea.
In Sports News: as the Czech football team prepare for their opening game at Euro 2004, experienced midfielder Vladimir Smicer tells us even though their opponents on Tuesday are the unfancied Latvia, the first game is always very difficult. In ice hockey, goaltender Dominik Hasek looks set to join Ottawa and Czech tennis number one Jiri Novak has recorded his best ever placing on grass, just a week before Wimbledon.
For the 8th time in ten years the Prague International Marathon has been won by a Kenyan; Robert Stefko made marathon history by becoming the first Czech to make the winners' podium by coming in third; the Czech national football side has entered its final training phase ahead of Euro 2004; at least one Czech's name will grace this year's Stanley Cup no matter who wins.
The 68th Ice Hockey World Championship wrapped up in Prague on Sunday with a dramatic comeback by Team Canada against Sweden to take the title for the second year in a row. Jan Velinger reports on the match and how it marked the end of an exciting of three weeks in Prague and Ostrava that hockey fans won't soon forget.
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