Spartakiad (Czechoslovakia)

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Spartakiad in 1960

The Spartakiads in Czechoslovakia (Czech: Spartakiáda, Slovak: Spartakiáda) were mass gymnastics events, designed to celebrate the Red Army's liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945.[1] They were organised by the Communist government as a replacement of the Sokol gatherings, which were disapproved by the regime and discontinued after World War II.[2] The Spartakiads took place at the Strahov Stadium, the same place as the last pre-war Sokol gathering.[3]

The first Spartakiad took place in 1955, and was subsequently held every five years.[1] However, the Spartakiad scheduled for 1970 was canceled because of the government's fear that demonstrations against the regime could begin as a result of the end of the Prague Spring and the beginning of normalization. Preparations for the Spartakiad scheduled for 1990 were interrupted by the Velvet Revolution, but the event still took place, although on a much smaller scale than the previous ones.

The Spartakiads were used by the regime as a tool of massive propaganda and were thus attended by large numbers of people; for example, at the 1960 Spartakiad about 750,000 gymnasts from the whole country took part and over 2,000,000 spectators witnessed the event.

Men and women of all ages practiced their exercising routines for the event. Appearance was mandatory for soldiers and students.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Morkes, František (18 December 2005). "Jak vzniklo slovo "spartakiáda"". Czech Radio (in Czech). Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Friedrich, Alex (12 August 1998). "What to do with ab aging giant". Prague Post. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Accommodation in Prague Vokovice - Hostel and Apartments Spartakiáda - About Spartakiada". Hostelspartakiada.cz. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Szantová, Olga (30 June 2000). "Sokol slet starts in Prague". Czech Radio. Retrieved 18 November 2013.