Today we will finally reveal the name (or rather names) of May’s mystery person(s) and announce the names of the four of you who will get Radio Prague goodies for their correct answers. We quote from entries sent by: Panha Pen, Colin Law, David Eldridge, Mani Sankar Chhatri, Mogire Machuki, Elder S J Agboola, Anne Faust, Hans Verner Lollike, Krzysztof Borski, Li Ming, Charles Konecny, Brian Kendall.
Welcome to Mailbox. The day has come to answer last month’s quiz question and announce the names of the four lucky winners. So let’s get down to business.
The very first answer to arrive was from Panha Pen from Cambodia:
“The name of the first Czech to win an Olympic medal is no doubt František Janda-Suk. Born in Postřižín near Roudnice nad Labem and died in Prague, he became the first Czech medalist in the history of the Olympiads winning the silver medal in the discus throw in the 1900 Summer Olympics held in Paris, France. He was among the five Czech athletes who participated. Also, he was 15th in shot put and 17th in discus throw at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden.”
However, Colin Law from New Zealand found out that there was another athlete from Bohemia who won a medal:
“The first ever Czech to win an Olympic medal was Hedwiga Rosenbaumová who competed for Bohemia at the 1900 Paris Olympics. She is on record as gaining not one medal but TWO. Rosenbaumová gained bronze medals in the women's singles and in the mixed doubles with Archibald Warden of Great Britain. The tennis matches were held between 6th and 11th July 1900. However, your clue suggests that you want the name of a male competitor! His medal came about one week later. The first male Czech Olympic medalist (and the second ever Czech to win an Olympic medal) was František Janda-Suk, born on 25 March 1878 in Postřižín near Roudnice nad Labem. In the 1900 Summer Olympics he competed for Bohemia. On July 15th he won a silver medal in the Men’s Discus Throw with a throw of 35.14 metres, (some sources suggest 35.23m) coming second to Hungarian Rudolf Bauer who threw 36.04 metres.”
It turns out that Hedwiga Rosenbaumová was not a member of the Czech Olympic Committee delegation and therefore is not listed in official Czech statistics, nevertheless thanks to Colin, we altered the question to include both athletes. The only other listener to mention both Janda-Suk and Rosenbaumová was David Eldridge from England:
“There was also Hedwiga Rosenbaumová aka Frau Hedwig Rosenbaum, wife of Dr. Rosenbaum-Jenkins, a prominent continental European sports journalist. František Janda-Suk and Hedwiga Rosenbaumová both represented ‘Bohemia’. Who's event was first in the games schedule to complete and therefore who qualifies to be the first medal winner I do not know, but it seems a little unsporting of me to attempt to probe, so I think they should both be thought of as the first Czechs.“
Mani Sankar Chhatri from India mentioned František Janda-Suk’s revolutionary technique: “Sport has always been a part of daily life in the Czech Republic and has a long tradition and much success. The Czechs are not only excellent sportsmen but they are innovators as well... More than his performance, Janda-Suk mainly gained attention by his new style – the spinning throw, which soon caught on and found its home in the discus circle.”
Mogire Machuki writes from Kenya:
“František Janda-Suk won [silver] in the discus throw at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris with the help of revolutionary technique – spinning throw, which has been adopted by later generations of discus throwers. Czechs have a long history and tradition of inside track events like the discus and the javelin throw... it is a story that has been recurring in Olympic venues all over the years.”
And on the same topic, Elder S J Agboola from Nigeria writes:
“He was a pioneer, a pace-setter and a trail-blazer. He was the first discus thrower to introduce a novel idea of the spinning throw. His revolutionary method is now being proudly copied by modern-day discus throwers.”
Anne Faust listens to Radio Prague in Germany:
“His excellent technique with the spin still exists in the sport after over 100 years.”
Hans Verner Lollike follows our programmes in Denmark
“Frantisek Janda-Suk won a silver medal for Bohemia at the Paris summer Olympic 1900. Denmark also got its first Olympic Medal in 1900 in Paris, but, that was only a bronze medal.”
Krzysztof Borski listens in Poland:
“Frantisek Janda-Suk in the 1900 Summer Olympics held in Paris - he became the first Czech medalist in the history of the Olympiads winning the silver medal in the discus throw.” Li Ming from China found a clue on Radio Prague’s website:
“It is a coincidence that you should mention him, you simply can't imagine where I learnt about him for the first time. Yes, it was right on your web, when you revealed the identity of March's mystery man on April 5. His picture there particularly impressed me. It is said the Czech Olympic Committee sent five athletes and two officials to the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris.”
Charles Konecny from the US wrote this:
“It must have been a proud moment for the Czech people that Czech athletes were finally able to compete in a world-wide event at the Olympics separately from the Austrians and Hungarians. Even more so when František won the silver medal. He also drew attention for his ‘spinning throw’ technique of the discus which many other discus throwers soon took to using. So three cheers for František for renewing The Czech people’s national pride of that time.”
And finally, Brian Kendall from England had this to say:
“What is most interesting about him is that he entered as part of the team from Bohemia. Independent Czechoslovakia was still some years away but ‘Bohemia’ was recognised for purposes of the Olympics. So, perhaps František Janda-Suk could be described as ‘throwing to the future’."
The lucky four this time are Ms. Yukiko Maki from Japan, Mogire Machuchi from Kenya, Nikita Pugachev from Russia and a special prize goes to Colin Law for first finding out and letting us know that matters are more complicated than they might seem. Congratulations and many thanks to everyone for taking part. Finally, we have a brand new quiz question for you.
Born in 1942, she remains the most decorated Czech gymnast ever, with seven gold Olympic medals, four World Championship titles and eleven gold medals from European Championships, besides many other titles. In the 1990s, this outstanding sportsperson was also president of the Czechoslovak and later Czech Olympic Committee.
Maybe this personality will inspire you to take part in Radio Prague’s annual contest in which you can win a trip to Prague. You have until Friday to send us your entries. In any case, four of you who send us the correct answer to today’s question by the end of the month will receive small gifts from Radio Prague. The address is [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. Thanks for listening and good-bye.