40 thousand people visited the Czech House in Rio. Visitors showed particular interest in the beer, scooters and Zátopek

He didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate his gold at the Czech House in London. However, in Rio, Brazil, as the last of the medal winning Czech athletes, who collectively won ten medals at the Games, biker Jaroslav Kulhavý was able to celebrate his silver medal with members of the Czech Team and Brazilian visitors.

“We hoped that around twenty thousand people would visit the House, which we also considered an ambitious target. However, in the end the actual visitor numbers were double that, with most visitors being local Brazilians,” said Jiří Kejval, President of the Czech Olympic Committee.

Czech athletes met here when celebrating successes. Visitors could watch television broadcasts; for example on the Saturday the House lived and breathed the football final, which was won by the host nation. Competitions took place here; people sang. The visitors photographed themselves with silhouettes of Czech athletes and they looked at the exhibits of Czech companies, from boots to a model tram and fashion jewellery.

“The greatest interest was in Czech beer, Zátopek’s legs and also scooters,” said Blanka Konečná, manager of the Czech House, where draught Pilsner Urquell was served. An art installation by David Černý linked Rio with the Fan Zone at the Quadrio shopping centre in Prague and the Olympic Park Rio–Lipno. Zátopek’s unstoppable legs were also to be seen at the Czech consulate in Rio. “And both adults and children raced around on scooters. We were also pleased that visitors took a genuine interest in the exhibits from Czech companies,“ added Konečná.

Above the Czech House building concealed in the surrounding terrain, an illuminated and stylised Emil Zátopek figure shone out for eighteen days. This was the Czech House motif, which also accompanied the Czech Olympic Team in 2016. The official opening of the Czech House was attended by President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, together with the Minister for Regional Development, Karla Šlechtová. During the Games the Czech House was also visited by Chairman of the Czech Senate, Milan Štěch, Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, Jan Hamáček, and Minister for Education, Kateřina Valachová.

“We are grateful for the participation of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry for Regional Development, the Ministry of Education, the agency Czech Tourism, the consulate in Brazil and other interested parties. The cooperation was excellent, even though often complex. I am convinced that we not only made our mark in Brazil on the field of sport, but also the Czech nation made a good general impression,” added Jiří Kejval.

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