People around the Czech Republic stayed up late on Wednesday night to cheer on the Czech ice hockey team, who - in an intriguing twist of fate - faced former federal partners Slovakia in the quarter-finals at the Winter Olympics in Turin. All the disappointment with the Czech Republic's poor results in the group stage were forgotten on Wednesday, as the Czech team finally gelled and won 3:1 to reach the semi-finals.
We are about two-thirds of the way through the Winter Olympics in Turin, and so far they haven't gone as well for the Czech Republic as many Czech fans would have hoped. The country has two medals, silver for both Katerina Neumannova and Lukas Bauer in cross-country skiing. But ski jumper Jakub Janda had a disastrous Olympics, an injured Ales Valenta didn't even make the final in freestyle aerial skiing, and the ice hockey team have yet to find any real rhythm. Czech Radio's Petr Soucek is in Turin - I asked him if there was some feeling of disappointment
In Sports News: a dramatic weekend for the Czech ice hockey team at the Winter Olympics in Turin, with Jaromir Jagr brutally fouled by a Finnish player; the manager of the cross country skiing team is sacked after submitting the wrong names ahead of the relay final; ski jumper Jakub Janda's Olympics end with a poor tenth place, while freestyle aerial skier Ales Valenta is set to defend his title despite an injury; the Czech football league resumes after the winter break, and three new players are called up for the national squad.
There's been mixed success for Czech sportsmen and women at the Winter Olympics in Turin. The Czech ice-hockey team beat Germany 4-1, but star goalkeeper Dominik Hasek is injured. Meanwhile cross-country skier Katerina Neumannova failed to follow up Sunday's medal success after coming fifth in the 10-km classical event.
On Tuesday the Czech ice hockey team plays its first match against Germany, a highly-anticipated match that should see players like Jaromir Jagr and new team captain Robert Lang in top form. One mystery that has been resolved for the time being: the question of who would start between the pipes. It will be none other than Dominik Hasek, who led the Czechs to gold at the Olympics eight years ago. At 41, Hasek is enjoying the season of the lifetime in the NHL, and the Czechs are hoping he will keep up the good work in the first game. Although originally
In Sports News: cross country skier Katerina Neumannova wins the Czech Republic's first medal at the Winter Olympics in Turin; eighteen-year-old speed skater Martina Sablikova is satisfied with seventh place in her first Olympics; ski jumper Jakub Janda finishes a poor 13th, while Nikola Sudova and Lukas Bauer are also disappointed; and - away from Turin - javelin legend Jan Zelezny has announced he is retiring this year.
This coming Friday sees the start of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. The Czech Republic is sending a record 82 competitors to the games, which are sure to capture the public imagination here - especially if the Czech ice hockey team do well. To discuss Czech chances in Turin I visited the headquarters of the Czech Olympic Committee, to meet the organisation's secretary general, Petr Hrubec. Mr Hrubec first told me about Prague's unique place in the history of the Winter Olympics.
Franz Beckenbauer is without question one of the all-time greats of world football. The elegant defender played over a hundred times for West Germany, captaining the side which won the World Cup in 1974. In 1990 he again tasted glory in the competition, as Germany's manager. As the country prepares to host this year's World Cup, Beckenbauer - on a visit to Prague - recalls his first World Cup, and assesses the chances of the Czech Republic.
In Sports News: the Czech Republic have drawn a tough qualifying group for Euro 2008, says Vladimir Smicer; Czech captain Tomas Galasek is to leave Ajax after six years; Czech Martin Damm and partner Leander Paes lose in the doubles final at the Australian Open; and Jaromir Jagr and the rest of the Czech colony at the New York Rangers go on a scoring spree.