Notes: Gorbachev blamed the radioactive Peace Race. But he did not suppress freedom

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On the penultimate day of August, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev died at the age of 91. During a bipolarly divided world, one of the two most powerful people on the planet, from the position of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the head of the Union Soviet and adjacent satellites, which included socialist Czechoslovakia, in which I was born.

For myself, I remember how I felt as a child. The eternally scowling, arrogant and sullen look and tone of Leonid Brezhnev, who sent occupying tanks into Czechoslovakia in 1968, was replaced by a visibly different man after two quick deaths of other Kremlin gerontocracy apparatchiks.

In 1985, the then 54-year-old Gorbachev became the leader of an economically withering empire. He seemed kinder and talked about reforms. In the Eastern Bloc, where until then the word “reform” was persecuted.

In ossified Czechoslovakia, the leadership of Jakešov did not give any meaning to the bandied word “perestroika”, but the loosening of the hoops and the warming of relations with the West ultimately led to the disintegration of the totalitarian empire, including its satellites, and subsequent democratization processes.

And why am I writing about this in a sports newsletter? Because, of course, great history can be found here too.

Tensions in the early 1980s and Soviet military involvement in Afghanistan prompted an American boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Athletes from Canada, West Germany, Japan or China also did not travel to the Games. And four years later, the Eastern Bloc never rematched at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Except for Romania and Yugoslavia.

Those who did not go to America for Olympic medals could compete in the Pasquale concoction event called Druzhba 1984.

A year later, Gorbachev appeared and these matches on the sports field stopped. To highlight the improvement of relations between East and West, the Goodwill Games were even created, a kind of small Olympics, organized by Ted Turner, the owner of CNN, based on his personal relationship with Gorbachev and, of course, his more open foreign policy. .

The first Goodwill Games were held in 1986 in Moscow, ten years after the last competition between Soviet and American representatives at the Olympic Games. 3,000 athletes participated, which is about half the number of the “normal Olympics”. Turner lost $26 million on the event, but still managed four more summer sequels and one winter.

A sadly memorable event of that time was the Peace Race in 1986. For many years, this cycling event took place between Prague, Berlin and Warsaw. And only for the year 1986, someone thought that it would start in Kyiv.

By a crazy coincidence, the race was supposed to start there 10 days after the nuclear power plant accident in nearby Chernobyl. And he started too, with half the width of the peloton than usual. Italians, Belgians, Dutch and many others stayed at home because they received high-quality information about how dangerous the radioactive cloud hanging in the air over Ukraine is.

Czechoslovak competitors learned at home that it was not so terrible. And they started. I still remember how Jozef Regec and Senegambin Gambold from Mongolia circled the streets of Kyiv while running. I would say that Regec’s yellow jersey at the head of the standings is definitely not worth the exposure.

In the case of Chernobyl, Gorbachev did not reject the school of his predecessors. At first he hid the accident from the whole world and then shamelessly played down its consequences.

On the other hand, everything in the general context could have gone and become worse. If a “hawk” had stood at the head of the USSR instead of Gorbachev, he could have faced the crisis and the collapse of the empire through force and other military interventions, even with the use of nuclear weapons.

I understand that for many today it seems like a distant topic and pages from history. But I was born in Turnov, where there was a barracks with a military garrison of the Red Army. Many times I saw the movement of convoys with large tractors, carrying large cigar-shaped objects, drawn by tarpaulin. Missiles capable of carrying atomic warheads are often parked under our windows, where tables are scattered.

This power can be used against anyone, including the Velvet Revolution. Coincidentally, one of the sporting harbingers of a new, better era was the Czechoslovak hockey team’s two-game Prague streak against the Calgary Flames in September 1989.

The Canadian team, where Jiří Hrdin (legal) also played, stopped here on their trip to the USSR, where the Washington Capitals team with (emigrant) Michal Pivoňka was also heading. Czechoslovak Television also broadcast the first games of NHL teams in the USSR. Even slowly, the ice broke. And thanks to Gorbachev.

The fall of the eastern evil empire was definitely not his goal. But in my eyes, it really turned out pretty this way. And in the face of Putin’s current threats, we find out how we enjoyed three wonderful decades of peace and freedom here. Before the Russian bear fell asleep again and woke up.

Magician of the week: Josef Jindřišek

He never played for the national team. Neither old nor young. He has never tasted the atmosphere of European cups for himself. He didn’t even score many goals, in 18 first league seasons he failed the opponent’s goal twenty-four times.

However, Josef Jindřišek has become a legend, not only from the point of view of the supporters of Bohemians 1905, where he has been playing since 2009, in recent years, of course, with the captain’s armband.

Each number is, of course, “just” a number. But it is respectable. Last weekend, Josef Jindřišek recorded his 400th league start in the clash with Sparta.

In the history of domestic football, he is the 23rd player to achieve such a number. And he began to attribute initiations to others.

You will find more honest workers in the league. After all, at the age of 41, even in the jubilee duel in Sparta, he had the most mileage of all.

Josef Jindřišek certainly did well when, following an agreement with the club’s management, he extended his career in the summer and did not return as a trained plumber in, for example, stretch pipes. There is still plenty of time for that. He still belongs to the league league.

Hits of the week

The verdict against Pelta was reversed. A few hours ago, the municipal court in Prague sent the former head of Czech football, Miroslav Pelta, to a high-security prison for 6 years. And that is in the context of the case of sports subsidies. Pelta and other actors in the case appealed. And based on that, the Supreme Court in Prague has now annulled the verdict and sent the case back for a new hearing. My colleague Radek Nohl described everything in more detail.

The EuroBasket is here. The main star of the biggest domestic sports event of the year is Tomáš Satoranský, until recently an NBA player, who, despite an injured ankle, looks set to play in the EuroBasket tournament at Prague’s O2 arena.

Nedved’s fifty. We celebrated the anniversary of the best Czech football player of the last half century with his profile.

City magic. Thanks for the invitation to the 5:59 podcast, where we look for the magic of successful football in Pilsen.

Against the giants. And in my home podcast Nosiči vody, my colleagues and I discussed, among other things, Pilsen’s chances in the very good Champions League group.

Tweet of the week

Watch how Betis Sevilla fans warm up before the match. Brilliance!

What they hit elsewhere

New owner in Vary. To the surprise of many, businessman Dušan Šenkypl managed the Karlovy Vary hockey club. In the past, together with a colleague from the Pale Fire Capital investment group, Jan Barta, he got involved in sports through the epojiesteni brand, which sponsored the football league. (game)

Křetínského’s company was in trouble. Waste company AVE CZ is being prosecuted for alleged tax evasion. According to investigators, the damage was 2.3 billion crowns. The owner of the prosecuted company is Daniel Křetínský, president of football Sparta, and the managing director is Dušan Svoboda, vice president of Sparta and head of the League Football Association. (folk songs)

Stadium of dreams. Look attractive animation, what the Real Madrid stadium will look like in its final form. And what technical magic will be applied to it. (Twitter)

As I have mentioned several times, with all the threats and sadness that come our way, as fans we can still hide from the world of sports, if only for a little while.

Arsenal have been making me happy so far this season, so I hope you enjoy your favorites sooner or later.

And see you in a week!

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