Almost every five years, from 1955 until the fall of communism, Prague’s massive Strahov sporting complex hosted the regime’s Spartakiáda gatherings. Meticulously choreographed and set to song, these displays of synchronized gymnastics replaced the impassioned calisthenics shows organized by Czechoslovakia’s Sokol nationalist movement.
Despite enjoying a few brief revivals, Sokol has largely faded, save for aging members in the Czech Republic and United States. But Strahov, once a symbol of communist oppression, is being given new life this July thanks to an international sporting event.
Frisbee at Strahov
July 3, 2010 marked the start of the World Ultimate Club Championships of the World Flying Disc Federation—that’s Ultimate Frisbee in layman’s terms—with games held at Strahov and Vršovice stadiums. Nearly 3,000 players from 37 countries will descend on the Czech capital for the week-long event. The WUCC is held in a different host city every four years, with previous cities including Toronto, Perth and Honolulu.
Competition will be fast and fierce among the finest open (mostly men), women’s, mixed and masters club teams. But this is Ultimate Frisbee, after all, a non-refereed sport with a decidedly less stringent atmosphere than some of this summer’s more highly publicized athletic events.
Seven-member teams play on a space measuring roughly half of a soccer field. Typical games last 100 minutes, or until a team scores 17 points–catching the disc in the opponent’s end zone constitutes one point.
Where to watch
All games are free for spectators, but if you’ve come to Prague for the pivo, you can also look forward to celebrations at pubs near both stadiums. A list of watering holes and the full schedule of games are found on the event Web site. (If you don’t happen to be in Prague from July 3-10, you can watch the games online.)