The 31st FISU Winter World University Games, the epicentre of which was Lake Placid, USA, stand out in the chronicles of Czech university sport. Czech representatives won twelve medals at the Games and took sixth place in the overall ranking of countries.
The Czech national team travelled overseas with the ambition of at least defending their six medals from the previous World University Games, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, in 2019. “We are very happy that our athletes have succeeded to the utmost of our hopes and that they placed among the top teams in the tough competition. Big thanks go not only to new successful medallists, but to all the members who made a great national team and proudly represented the Czech Republic,” said Ivana Ertlová, chairperson of the Czech University Sports Association and head of the national university team.
Among the Czech medallists, Jan Zabystřan, a skier from the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, stood out, winning three golds and one bronze, and biathlonist Tereza Jandová from Masaryk University in Brno, who won two bronzes in the individual races and a gold in the relay.
However, also noteworthy is the third place of the Czech women’s ice hockey team, who participated in the World University Games for the first time. During the tournament, they lost only to Canada and the USA in the preliminary round and to Japan in the semi-finals. In the bronze medal match they beat Slovakia 3:1. Three Palacký University players also contributed to the success of the women’s team: Daniela Pejšová and Kateřina Petřeková from the Faculty of Physical Culture and Patricie Škorpíková from the Faculty of Education. All three of them experienced the joy of scoring a goal against their opponents during the tournament.
"Winning the bronze medal really means a lot to me. It is always an honour to represent the Czech Republic, and now it also meant representing my school and faculty. This award belongs to all those who are dedicated to their beloved sport and at the same time able to study and help create a better future. The tournament was very demanding physically and mentally, but we managed to overcome everything as a team that kept getting better with each day," said Petřeková, who studies Physiotherapy; as she noted, she panicked a bit when she was nominated for the national team because of the exams during the Games.
Škorpíková, her colleague from HC Falcons Sokol Karviná, who studies Special Education and Czech Language and Literature, added, “We wanted to get to the finals. Unfortunately, we failed to do that, but the bronze medal is still an amazing achievement, and I will remember it for a long time. I also came back with many new experiences, and I’m grateful. I’m proud of the whole team, how we performed during the tournament and what we accomplished. I really enjoyed the University Games and I hope to participate again in two years in Italy.”
Palacký University had more representatives at the Games in Lake Placid. Tomáš Hanák and Patrik Tarnoczy, both Faculty of Physical Culture students who play for HC Zubr Přerov, were on the roster of the men’s hockey team. The Czech men’s ice hockey players finished fourth in their group and did not advance. Skier Aneta Vetrová from the Faculty of Arts finished 23rd in the super giant slalom. The games were also attended by Iva Dostálová, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Physical Culture, as a medical member of the organising team.
The Winter World University Games, which is the world’s largest student multi-sport event, hosted over 1400 students from 540 universities in 46 countries who competed in twelve sports. The Czech Republic was represented by 93 athletes from 33 schools and 49 support team members.
In addition, this year the Summer World University Games, which were postponed from last year, will be in Chengdu, China, from 28 July to 8 August. The next Winter World University Games will be held in Turin, Italy, in 2025.