Richard Askwith is a well-known writer and journalist, but perhaps more than anything else he is a runner. In his native Britain he won a cult following with his book Feet in the Clouds, which maps his obsession with the strange and exhilarating sport of fell-running. His hobby left him well placed for writing a biography of the greatest of all Czech runners, Emil Zátopek, legendary for his will-power and endurance. Richard Askwith was in Prague recently to launch the Czech translation of the book, Today We Die a Little: Emil Zátopek, Olympic Legend
Football Club is a new Czech-language quarterly that delivers long-form articles on various aspects of domestic and international soccer culture and history. Inspired by similar titles around Europe such as the UK’s The Blizzard, it was created by Karel Häring, a well-known football writer, and Czech Radio journalist Jan Kaliba. In his introduction to the first edition of Football Club, Häring recalls that when he was at the newspaper Sport the target readers were “factory workers rather than university graduates”. So, I asked him, is the new journal
Visitors to Prague’s main Olšanské cemetery were treated to a somewhat strange sight last Saturday as Glasgow Celtic and Prague Slavia football fans congregated at one specific grave to the tune of a mournful bagpipe. They were paying homage to a Scotsman, Johnny Madden, a legend for both clubs who coached Slavia Prague for 25 years from just after the start of the 20th century to its third decade and took them to the top in Czech and European football.
Pavel Nedvěd, former Czech national football team captain and the best footballer of his generation, has appeared on a special set of coins, celebrating Czech football legends. Issued by the Czech Mint in Jablonec nad Nisou, the series already features 10 legendary Czech and Czechoslovak footballers, including Antonín Panenka and Josef Masopust. Part of the proceeds from their sale is used to support retired football internationals.
The Czech Ice Hockey Association paid tribute to former hockey forward and national squad coach, Josef Augusta who died on Thursday at the age of 70. The coach, who managed the squad during the so-called Golden era at the World Champions from 1999 to 2001 with the team winning the championship three times in a row, had been suffering from pancreatic cancer. He had been diagnosed in 2015. As a player, Mr Augusta won the silver medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck.
This Tuesday marks 80 years that the first match was held in the country’s first national hockey league. The teams Sparta Prague and Vítkovice faced off on a natural ice rink in Ostrava-Vítkovice. Forward Vilém Kubečka scoring the very first goal but Sparta came back to tie it. For much of the month, the league, now known as the Extraliga, will be celebrating the anniversary.
Former javelin thrower Dana Zátopková, holder of gold and silver medals from the 1952 and 1960 Olympic Games in Helsinki and Rome, underwent surgery shortly after celebrating her 94th birthday last week. The Olympian, wife of the late Emil Zátopek, also an Olympic champion, reportedly broke her femur near the hip, and was operated on Saturday morning. Mrs Zátopková’s secretary Karel Engel said that the operation had been successful and that she was doing well.
Monday, October 3, marks the 90th anniversary of Europe’s first live coverage of a sporting event: a football match between Slavia Prague and Hungaria Budapest in 1926. Radiožurnál’s Josef Laufer, who went on to become a broadcasting legend, provided live commentary of the match, a stroke of luck for the reporter after the original candidate to call the match failed to show up. Radiožurnál edged the BBC by several months in its live broadcast of a sporting event, Czech Radio said.
Final farewells were paid to the great gymnast Věra Čáslavská at Prague’s National Theatre on Monday. Athletes from across the generations, ministers and other notable figures from Czech public life expressed their respect for the nation’s most successful Olympian, who passed away two weeks ago at the age of 74.
The sad news was announced on Wednesday that the most successful ever Czech Olympic athlete, Věra Čáslavská, died at the age of 74. She had been battling cancer of the pancreas. The gymnast will be remembered not just for her medals but for her protest against the Soviet bloc invasion of Czechoslovakia at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.