Olympic Games: Missed Opportunity for Czechia?

Prague, Feb 17 (CTK) – The Czech Republic had the opportunity to tell the world at the Olympic Games that there is no longer any Czechoslovakia, whose 100th anniversary is celebrated this year, but that Czechia, not only Slovakia remained after it, political geographer Vladimir Baar writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today.


Czechs had an ideal opportunity at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics to show that they know their English name Czechia, Baar writes.


However, Czech sports and political representatives have wasted again the opportunity to present the short geographic name Czechia that can be easily remembered to the world.


Instead, the nation was presented again as the Czech Republic, although there are over 150 republics in the world.


Perhaps the name could be the Former Czechoslovak Czech Republic, along the model of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, because Czechoslovakia was a good trademark, Baar writes.


At the opening ceremony of the Olympics, no one but Macedonians surpassed the Czech team with the length of their country’s name.


If the word republic is deleted from the name, lots of people may come to believe that our country is called just Czech.


Given the same pronunciation of the words Czech and check, many may say: Where is the bizarre Check Republic situated? Perhaps in Africa. If a country may be called Chad, why not Check, Baar writes with irony.


“As a political geographer, I cannot understand why our sports representation so persistently insists on our presenting ourselves on the international scene as a sort of ‘banana republic’, instead of a clear and concise geographical name,” he adds.


Why Slovaks or Poles can walk behind a poster with the geographical name Slovakia or Poland, while Czechs have to “boast” of having a republic? Baar asks.


The answer is obvious: because their politicians (from Slovakia and Poland) know that their geographical names are politically neutral and it does not matter whether a country was a kingdom or a republic or whether it was even absorbed by other countries for a time.


This is why they use the geographical name, promoting the trademark such as Made in Slovakia with pride. In fact, has anyone seen the trademark Made in Slovak Republic?


At the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s foundation, the world should be reminded that Czechoslovakia no longer exists, but after it not only Slovakia, but also Czechia, not any “Check Republic,” have remained from it.


After 25 years of independent existence, this country deserves that its political representation finally has an efficient promotion of its name widely accepted.


Actually the name Czechia does exist in English and it is used. Now the time has come for Czechs to proudly use it, too, Baar concludes.


Last July, the Czech Republic registered its one-word name Czechia, English translation of the Czech “Cesko,” in U.N. databases along with its equivalents in the other official U.N. languages.


Despite this, Czechia is only rarely used in both official and unofficial contact.