Sports News

Lucie Hradecká, Radek Štěpánek, photo: CTK
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In Sports News this Monday: Czechs take four bronze medals in Rio in two days, including three in tennis; after winning his first Olympics medal in the mixed doubles, veteran Štěpánek says success in Czech colours tops other honours; and rower Synek, who came third in single sculls, concedes he may never top an Olympic podium.

Czechs enjoy “bronze” weekend in Rio

Petra Kvitová, photo: CTK
It was very much a bronze weekend for the Czech Republic at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The Czechs now have one gold and five bronze medals after picking up four more of the latter on Saturday and Sunday.

Underscoring the country’s great tradition in the sport, three of those fresh bronze medals came in tennis: for Petra Kvitová in the women’s singles; for Lucie Šafářová and Barbora Strýcová in the women’s doubles; and for Lucie Hradecká and Radek Štěpánek in the mixed doubles.

The latter pair’s success has been a real fairytale. At one point Štěpánek thought he wasn’t even going to Rio, while he and Hradecká signed up for the mixed doubles less than a week ago.

Hradecká had this to say after Sunday’s bronze medal game.

“It’s super that in all disciplines, with the exception of the men’s singles, we’ve managed to take a medal. What’s more, we all have them in the same colour. It’s amazing – and all the more so given that we didn’t even know until the last moment whether we would get in, or what would happen. As it is, we are leaving with a medal. It’s a wonderful feeling.”

Štěpánek says success for country beats other honours

Lucie Hradecká, Radek Štěpánek, photo: CTK
Hradecká, who is 31, already had an Olympic medal, a women’s doubles silver she earned with Andrea Hlaváčková in London. But Štěpánek had left both Beijing and London empty-handed and tasted Olympic success for the first time on Sunday. The 37-year-old joked that Hradecká had helped him avoid having to try yet again at the next Games.

“It’s a pity it’s only every four years! I’m glad that Lucie has put the brakes on my trip to Tokyo a bit and that I won’t have to put such an effort in to get there. This rounds off my medals cabinet wonderfully. I’ve got Grand Slam titles, Davis Cup wins, and now this Olympic medal. Along with the Davis Cup, the Olympics means the most to me, because I think there is simply no more wonderful feeling than winning for our country.”

Four-time world champion Synek concedes he may never win Olympic gold

Ondřej Synek, photo: CTK
The other Czech bronze at the weekend went to rower Ondřej Synek. His single sculls result followed silver in Beijing and London. Though he has been crowned world champion a very impressive four times, Synek has never matched that success on the biggest stage of all.

“What can I say? I’ve never won an Olympics and maybe I never will. I will 34 in October. I’d like to keep going until Tokyo if my health remains good and my back is OK. This year I had a broken vertebra and it made my life difficult. It was hard to finish the season… We’ll see.”