By Peter Smith.
Yes, it's the sport, and yet more glory has been bestowed upon the Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny. The 34-year-old--the only javelin thrower to win three Olympic golds--was named Athlete of the Year by the International Amateur Athletic Federation alongside the American Marion Jones.
Zelezny was presented with his award by the president of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, at the annual World Athletics Gala in Monaco at the weekend. Both Zelezny and Jones had to overcome adversity during the year, with the Czech fighting through the pain barrier to take his third successive gold in Sydney.
Ziack said that Zelezny and Jones "had been superb role models", saying "They displayed respect for their rivals and good humour during extremely stressful circumstances."
Also commemorated at the ceremony were the life and achievements of the Czech athlete Emil Zatopek, who died last week after a long illness. However, the manner in which the four-time Olympic Gold medallist will be laid to rest is causing some controversy here in the Czech Republic. It had originally been decided that Zatopek should be granted a state funeral, a proposal strongly opposed by Zatopek's widow Dana Zatopkova. "State funerals are only for statesmen," Zatopkova told the Czech newspaper Slovo.
Alternative proposals are to be discussed by state and athletics officials on Monday.
Turning to football, and the Czech Republic's international goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek was at the centre of some serious crowd violence in Italy at the weekend. The Brescia keeper was slightly injured by a flare thrown by fans of the Serie A club Reggina. This led to the match being halted, but when the crowd again threw a volley of missiles onto the pitch--including flares, staves, fruit and plastic bottles--the referee decided to abandon it completely. The refs name, incidentally, was Pierluigi Collina--remember him?
Quickly to the Gambrinus League, and Sparta Prague could only draw 1-1 away to Mirila Pribram at the weekend. However, the champions still increase their lead to ten points as their closest challengers, Teplice, lost 3-1 at Sigma Olomouc.
Click here for all the Gambrinus League results, plus the league table.