Though I would say I am reasonably familiar with Czech culture and history, I must admit that I often have to scratch my head a bit - and consult the internet - whenever we feature a new question in our Radio Prague monthly quiz. The subject of the most recent competition - the remarkable prize-winning tennis, ice hockey and football player Karel Kozeluh - was certainly somebody I should have been familiar with, and I learned about his amazing career with fascination.
Bratislava was the venue on Wednesday night for a very keenly anticipated soccer game between former federal partners Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It was the first time the two countries had met for several years and there was a lot to play for, as both teams bid to reach the 2008 European Championships. The atmosphere was electric, and friendly, for the match, which the Czech Republic won 3:0.
Friday will see the start of an important annual road cycling race involving riders from seven countries, who will face a demanding three-stage circuit linking the south Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice, Linz in Austria, and Passau in Germany. The event - known as the Peace and Friendship race - has a long tradition, dating back to the 1960s, a time when Austria, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia were of course separated by the Iron Curtain.
In Sports News: the Czech football team get off to a good start in their bid to reach Euro 2008, with two debutants shining in a 2:1 win over Wales, though Wales manager John Toshack believes match officials made serious mistakes; Sparta Prague appoint their 16th boss in 13 years - former star player Michal Bilek; two Czech singles players start the second week at tennis's US Open; and Czech women's record holder Barbora Spotakova wins the javelin at the last Golden League meeting of the season.
The Czech Republic's footballers begin their campaign to qualify for the 2008 European Championships on Saturday, when they take on Wales in the north Bohemian town of Teplice. One of the team's key players is Tomas Rosicky, who recently moved from Germany's Borussia Dortmund to English giants Arsenal. Ahead of the match against Wales, I spoke to Rosicky, and asked him how he was settling in to life at Arsenal, who haven't had a good start to the new season.
This summer's football World Cup was a big disappointment for the Czech Republic, who were knocked out in the group stage. But the World Cup is already history, and the Czech team are now preparing for the qualifiers for the 2008 European Championships; their opening game is against Wales at home on Saturday, while next Wednesday they play their former compatriots Slovakia in Bratislava. I discussed those games and more with goalkeeper Petr Cech.
In Sports News: the Czech Republic take two medals at the World Rowing Championships in Eton, though there is disappointment for the men's quadruple sculls team; the four Czech teams in football's UEFA Cup face a tough draw, though Slavia boss Karel Jarolim insists they will do their all to overcome Spurts; good news for the national team - Petr Cech is back ahead of two Euro 2008 qualifiers: and ski-jumper Jakub Janda settles a dispute with the Czech Skiing Union.
Two Czech football clubs have failed to progress in the third and final qualifying round for club football's most prestigious championship, the Champions League. Ahead of their game, few gave tiny Mlada Boleslav much chance at beating Turkey's Galatasaray already up a number of goals on aggregate, but there were hopes on Wednesday that Slovan Liberec might pull through. They faced Spartak Moscow in the Russian capital. Fifteen minutes before time it was close. In the drizzling rain, both sides were tied 1:1 - a situation that would have seen Liberec
Pavel Nedved - the greatest Czech player of his generation - has announced his retirement from international football. Speaking ahead of his last game for the Czech Republic on Wednesday, Nedved said he wanted to spend more time with his family - and wouldn't be up to international speed playing in Italy's Serie B with Juventus. He also said he plans to retire in a year's time, if Juve are promoted.