Prague is hosting the 15th festival of the Sokol athletics movement, a gathering of around 20,000 members and supporters from at home and abroad. In the past, Sokol played an important role in the Czech nation’s emancipation, and its festivals, held every six years, were huge demonstrations of national unity. But today, the Sokols come to manifest their love for sports and exercise. Jan Richter reports.
In this week's Sports News, Petra Kvitová to play crucial fourth round match at Wimbledon; Czech players on the move in the NHL; two local ice-hockey teams form a business partnership; five medals for Czechs at the European Athletics Championships and the national women's basketball team qualifies at the eleventh hour for the London Olympics.
The year is 1984, and Ivan Lendl plays the winning point against John McEnroe in the final of the French Open in Paris, one of eight Grand Slam singles titles in his career. The 1970s and 80s were period of huge tennis success in Czechoslovakia, and the country put considerable resources into the sport. Unlike most of their compatriots, the country’s top tennis players were able to travel round the world, and when Czechoslovak Radio caught up with the 19-year-old Lendl just before Christmas 1979, it was during one of his rare trips back home:
In Sports News: Fans, players mark the 50th anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s second-place finish at the 1962 World Cup; Pirlo emulates Panenka with a cheeky chip against England at EURO 2012; Czech football champions Liberec will face Kazakhstan’s Shakhter Karagandy in the 2nd qualifying round of the Champions League; Kvitová begins defence of Wimbledon title.
The Czech national football team lost 1:0 to Portugal in the quarterfinals of EURO 2012 in Warsaw on Thursday and was knocked out of the tournament. In the game, the Czechs delivered their best performance at the championships but failed to stop Portugal’s star Ronaldo from sending them home. Thursday’s match was also the Czech striker Milan Baroš’s last appearance for the national side.
The Czech Republic’s national football team defeated EURO 2012 co-hosts Poland in their last group-stage game on Saturday to surprisingly emerge as winners of Group A. After a disappointing start to the tournament against Russia, the Czech team gained momentum and beat both Greece and Poland, advancing to the quarter-finals where they’ll play Portugal on Thursday. But the injured Czech captain Tomáš Rosický’s participation in the game is uncertain.
In today’s One on One, I talk to Jan Kopka, a well-known mountain biker who specialises in extreme (or adventure) racing. His first major competition, years ago, was the Crocodile Trophy in Australia. Later, Kopka won the Iditarod Invitational, an MTB race held in winter across Alaska. In today’s interview, those (as well as a race across the Czech Republic and Slovakia) are discussed; if you want to know it feels like to cross the finish line after racing hundreds of kilometres, read on.
The Czech national football team rebounded on Tuesday from its opening loss at EURO 2012, by defeating opponents Greece. The squad got off to the best possible start: scoring two goals inside of six minutes. But a mistake by goalie Čech in the second half put Greece back in the game, and made this one closer than it should have been.