On the last day of the Olympics, the Czech team managed to sweeten their already successful run in London with two more gold medals in men’s mountain biking and pentathlon. The Czech Olympians can return home with heads held high, having won four more medals than in Beijing, and one more gold than four years ago. But the successes of the Czech delegation can be measured not only in the number of medals won, but also in the publicity it drew both in London and on the home turf.
For 20 years there was only one route for world class Czech ice hockey players – west. But since the creation of the Continental Hockey League in Russia 4 years ago, this once clear system is being ever more distorted. Increasing numbers of European and even American stars now decide to head east rather than into the NHL and it is not only players that seem to be flocking to the Eurasian league, but teams as well. Most recently the first Czech club to join was HC Lev Praha.
This weekend saw the Czech Olympic team pick up four more medals in London, including the first gold in this year’s Olympics. The Czechs achieved most of their successes of the past few days in the water, but even before the games began, the Czech team made a big splash in the world of fashion. At the Opening ceremony they paraded around the Olympic stadium in facetious wellingtons with umbrellas in hand. But for the creators of the Olympic opening outfits their success was not a given.
In this week's Sports News: Vavřinec Hradilek brings Czechs their first Olympic medal; a second silver for Czechs in rowing competition; Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká win silver in the tennis doubles; Kolocová and Sluková are knocked out in the beach volleyball quarter-finals; Sýkorová wins bronze in shooting competition and Miroslava Knapková brings Czechs their first gold medal.
Thousands of people – Czechs and Londoners alike – have come to the Czech House in London since the start of the London Olympics. Inaugurated on Friday by President Václav Klaus, the venue offers Czech music, art, food, beer and other attractions as well as a chance to chat to some of the athletes competing in the games.
In this week's Sports News: the Czech Olympic women’s basketball team suffers defeat by China; cancer survivor and badminton player Petr Koukal loses his first two Olympics matches; tennis star Tomáš Berdych crashes out of the Olympics; Petra Kvitová survives an early scare; the Czech women's beach volleyball duo fight back to secure victory and Jakub Voráček signs a four year contract with NHL team Philadelphia Flyers.
Over the last twenty years many Czechs have drastically changed their lifestyles, eating healthier foods and taking up new sports. Every weekend, cyclists and rollerblade-users hit local parks in Prague from Vítkov Hill to Stromovka. Fitness clubs which emerged over the same period are also going strong, drawing regular-goers to work-out in the gym, cycle indoors, or attend aerobics classes. Martin Nehasil is the programme director as well as a personal trainer at Solarium Fitness BBC – a popular fitness chain in the Czech capital. When I met with
Czech President Václav Klaus along with Czech government officials and the mayor of the London borough of Islington on Friday opened the Czech House in London, the hub of all things Czech during the 2012 London Olympics. More expensive than the Czech house in Beijing four years ago, it is the venue all kinds of attractions and events for the guests of the Czech Olympic Committee, Czech sports fans, and visitors. Jan Richter reported on the opening ceremony over the phone from London.
With just a day remaining to the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the Czech House is getting ready to receive its first visitors. Located in the trendy area of Islington, the Czech House will offer a series of programmes including concerts, exhibits and film screenings, as well as opportunities to meet some of the Czech athletes competing in the Games. But even before the Games began, the venue is already drawing crowds of people who come to see one of the most original artifacts dedicated to the 2012 Olympics – a red double-decker bus