October 1898: First Czech Olympic champion Šupčík born

Gymnast Bedřich Šupčík won the first Olympic gold medal for Czechoslovakia in the climbing discipline. He conquered the eight-meter long rope in 7.2 seconds.

Gymnast Bedřich Šupčík became the first Czech to win a gold medal at the Olympics when he triumphed in rope climbing at the 1924 Paris Games.

Bedřich Šupčík | Photo: Czech Olympic Committee

Šupčík was born in October 22, 1898 near Vienna but was raised by an aunt in Kroměříž, Moravia. In July 1924, at Paris’s Stade Yves-du-Manoir, he not only took gold in the rope climbing (which is no longer an Olympic discipline today) but also earned bronze in the all-round individual category. Four years later he received a silver medal in team combined exercises at the Amsterdam Olympics.

Gymnastics team at the Paris Olympics,  1924. Bedřich Šupčík  (bottom right) | Photo: e-Sbírky,  National Museum,  CC BY 4.0 DEED
Bedřich Šupčík | Photo: ČT24

Following the 1948 Communist takeover Šupčík, as a member of Sokol, was considered an enemy by the regime. He suffered two heart attacks in quick succession and was refused any financial aid when he was forced to retire. Bedřich Šupčík died in 1957 of a third heart attack, at the age of 58.

run audio