2008 Olympics

Get the most out of the Games with our guide to watching the Beijing Olympics from Prague

Like it or not, Beijing hosts the Summer Olympics Friday, August 8th through Sunday, August 24th.

The Czech Republic will be one of 205 teams competing at the Games, with a team of over 130 sportsmen and women.

Český olympijský výbor (Czech Olympic Committee, ČOV) Chairman Milan Jirásek's stated aim in Beijing is to at least equal the eight medals the country's athletes picked up in Athens in 2004.


SCHEDULE

Official Website


TIME DIFFERENCE

Beijing is six hours ahead of Prague. (When it's 9am in Beijing, it's 3am in Prague; when it's 5pm in Beijing, it's 11am in Prague.)


TV COVERAGE

ČT2 will be showing the Beijing Olympics live in the Czech Republic on terrestrial TV, with extended coverage on digital sister channel ČT4 Sport. (Schedules)

Česká televize will also be streaming the Games online via its Videopůjčovna ČT service. (Link)

Eurosport, available via cable and satellite, will also be showing the Games.


POLITICAL CONTROVERSY

As you might expect in a former Communist country, China's hosting of the 2008 Olympics has caused controversy in the Czech Republic.

Because of March's crackdown on protests in Tibet, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek won't attend the opening ceremony, but will visit the Czech team during the Games.

Topolánek has also angered the Chinese ambassador to Prague by wearing a Tibet flag pin.

Ondřej Liška, the Cabinet minister responsible for sports, has also turned down an invitation to the opening ceremony, saying that to do so would help to legitimize the Chinese regime.

Former President Václav Havel meanwhile, is one of the signatories of an open letter calling on the Chinese government to fulfil its human-rights obligations under the Olympic Charter.

Current President Václav Klaus has ruled out a trip to the opening ceremony, but on health grounds only, having undergone hip replacement surgery in June.

In the Czech Olympic team, javelinist Barbora Špotáková has probably been the Chinese's government's most outspoken critic but the ČOV has reminded athletes that the Olympic Charter forbids political demonstrations in official venues.


CZECH ATHLETES TO WATCH

Kateřina Emmons
Shooting: Women's 10m Air Rifle + Women's 50m Rifle Three Positions
Won bronze in the Women's 10m Air Rifle discipline in Athens, under her maiden name Kateřina Kůrková. Now married to American shooter Matt Emmons.

Štěpánka Hilgertová
Canoeing: Women's K-1 Slalom
The 40-year-old will carry the Czech flag at the opening ceremony, and hopes to improve on her fifth-place finish in Athens. A world champion in 1999 and 2003, and one of two Czechs tipped by Sports Illustrated magazine to win gold in Beijing.

Miroslava Knapková
Rowing: Women's Single Sculls
After finishing second at the 2006 world championship, the 27-year-old hopes to go one better in Beijing, beating Belarusian rival Yekaterina Karsten-Khodotovich to the gold.

Roman Kreuziger
Cycling: Men's Road Race
After winning this year's Tour de Suisse (Tour of Switzerland) and finishing 13th in the Tour de France, the rapidly rising 22-year-old could be a medal contender at the Olympics.

Roman Šebrle
Track & Field: Men's Decathlon
The posterboy for Czech athtletics (and Interspar supermarkets) is now 33 but remains a serious medal contender. Won gold in Athens and holds the decathlon world record.

Barbora Špotáková
Track & Field: Women's Javelin Throw
Along with canoeist Štěpánka Hilgertová, one of two Czechs tipped to win gold by Sports Illustrated magazine. The 27-year-old's throw of 69.15 meters in May is the longest in the world so far this year.

Ondřej Synek
Rowing: Men's Single Sculls
Together with Miroslava Knapková (see above), the 27-year-old hopes to complete a Czech single sculls double in Beijing. Finished second at last year's world championship, behind New Zealand rival Mahe Drysdale.

Marek Švec
Wrestling: Men's Greco-Roman 96 kg
The 35-year-old will be the oldest wrestler at the Olympics, but took bronze at last year's world championship and hopes to add another medal to his collection in Beijing.

David Svoboda
Men's Modern Pentathlon
Countryman Libor Capalini took the pentathlon bronze in Athens but after finishing second at this year's world championship, 23-year-old Svoboda looks a better bet for a medal in Beijing.

Jaroslav Volf & Ondřej Štěpánek
Canoeing: Men's C-2 Slalom
The bronze medalists in Athens have already made headlines in Beijing, clashing with Slovak canoeist Michal Martikán in training, but could be back in the news for sporting reasons when the Games begin.


CZECH MEDALISTS IN ATHENS

Gold
Roman Šebrle (Track & Field: Decathlon)

Silver
Lenka Hyková (Shooting: Women's 25m Pistol)
David Jirka, Jakub Hanák, Tomáš Karas & David Kopřiva (Rowing: Men's Quadruple Sculls)
Lenka Šmídová (Sailing: Women's Europe Class)

Bronze
Jaroslav Bába (Track & Field: Men's High Jump)
Libor Capalini (Men's Modern Pentathlon)
Kateřina Kůrková (Shooting: Women's 10m Air Rifle)
Jaroslav Volf & Ondřej Štěpánek (Canoeing: Men's C-2 Slalom)


USEFUL LINKS

Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
International Olympic Committee

Video on YouTube

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