Grace and courage! The Věra Čáslavská Award goes to Petra Kvitová

Two-time Wimbledon champion, six-time Fed Cup winner and bronze medallist at the Rio Olympics, Petra Kvitová is the sixth recipient of the Věra Čáslavská Award, which is presented by the Czech Olympic Committee for outstanding contribution to women in sport and the Olympic Movement. The glass trophy, produced by the firm Lasvit, was presented to the tennis player at the Czech NOC HQ by its president Jiří Kejval and the Chairwoman of the Commission for Equal Opportunities in Sport, Naďa Knorre.

The five previous recipients were two-time Olympic champion in canoe slalom, Štěpánka Hilgertová, Naďa Knorre, Olympic champion in gymnastics in the all-around team event, Věra Růžičková, double Olympic champion in javelin throw, Barbora Špotáková, and world champion and Olympic medallist in ski slalom, Šárka Strachová.

“Věra Čáslavská was an inspiration for me in the way she battled both in the sporting arena and outside it. She emitted a lot of energy, and I think we have that in common,” recollects Kvitová in relation to the seven-time Olympic gold medallist and personality who transcended the boundaries of sport and the Czech Republic.

Dignity and courage

Kvitová won the most prestigious tournament in the world at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, and was able to return to peak form after a serious hand injury. “Sport has brought me a lot of good things; I never expected to stand here and receive this award,” added Kvitová, who in 2011 also won the WTA Tour Championships. “I also fulfilled a dream when I won an Olympic medal; I love the Olympics. I hope that I am able to qualify again for them.”

Recipients of the Věra Čáslavská Award are proposed by the Czech NOC Commission for Equal Opportunities in Sport and their nomination is approved by the Czech NOC Executive Committee. The award was established with the aim of highlighting the activities of women in sport and the Olympic Movement, and it is awarded when appropriate, but no more than once a year.

“I am very glad, Petra, that you are receiving this award. Whenever I see you there are two words that spring to mind – the first is grace, and the second was one also displayed by Věra Čáslavská – and it is courage. I hope your courage continues to serve you well and for many years to come,” said Naďa Knorre, Chairwoman of the Commission for Equal Opportunities in Sport.

The trophy, made by the firm Lasvit, which is an official supplier to the Czech Olympic Team since 2012, was designed last year by Maria Čulenová Hostinová. “The award symbolises the letter V. It is the first initial of Mrs Čáslavská’s name, it also stands for victory, and last but not least it represents the raised arms of gymnasts after a performance. Out-stretched arms portray the competitive spirit and pride of a person,” said the trophy designer explaining the inspiration behind the design. In addition to the Věra Čáslavská Award, Lasvit also produces trophies for Olympic medallists.