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Sportsmen in the Czech Lands

Exhibition from the Monarchy exhibition series.

7.9.2012–13.10.2013 / Location: National Memorial on the Vítkov Hill, U Památníku 1900, Praha 3

The exhibition "Sportsmen in the Czech Lands" introduces the most interesting events and artefacts concerning the origins of sports which can be found in the Collection of Physical Education and Sport of the National Museum. It recalls the origins of sports in Czech countries, the first athletes (Sportsmen) and sports sectors, which followed a different path than the one under the wings of the Sokol (the Czech Association of Physical Education) or other organizations of physical education.

By means of some of the selected sports, the exhibition introduces to visitors athletes from the late 19th and 20th century. The visitors can get acquainted with sport news from the contemporary press, photographs of sport games, portraits of sportsmen or with sports prizes and contemporary sports equipment.

Among the sports that are represented in the exhibition, we can name cycling, in the 19th century the most common sport in general, hiking, skiing, skating, tennis, heavy and light athletics, ice ball and kicked ball (hockey and football), and neither women’s sports nor the origins of the Olympic movement are forgotten.

The visitors of the exhibition can see the journal "My Sports" by Josef Rössler-Ořovský, who was one of the first initiators who introduced some sports in this country and intensely devoted their time to them. His sports diary records his sport experiences and observations of races, news of victories, weather, sportswear or – for example – about how he had brought skis to Bohemia and how he and his friends were creating the first sports terminology. Among the exhibits we can find e.g. the first Olympic bronze medal won by the fencer Vilém Goppold, a wrestling belt that belonged to the multiple wrestling champion Joseph Šmejkal, or an arm cast of his rival Gustav Frištenský, a newly renovated women's riding saddle or a tennis racket for ladies, rare medals from rowing races as well as from the first years of the Mayor´s rowing race, prints issued as handbooks dealing with ski or bicycle riding or playing football. The tragedy concerning the seven-time ski champion of the Kingdom of Bohemia Bohumil Hanč is also reminded; the exhibition also shows the first cycling maps, one of the first skis (so called Finnish skis), several types of skates or a high bicycle from the Kohout factory and many cups for cycling champions.

For small visitors, there is a locker room with replicas of the contemporary sportswear and silhouettes of athletes, through which they can crawl to reach the victory rostrum.

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