Contacts and Comparisons in History and Culture
Edited By Gerald Power and Ondrej Pilny
Daniel Samek The Czech Sokol Gymnastic Programme in Ireland, c. 1900-1950
Daniel Samek The Czech Sokol Gymnastic Programme in Ireland, c. 1900–1950 The present essay is a result of an intriguing discovery made in the course of research for a study of Czech-Irish cultural and diplomatic relations in the twentieth century.1 It focuses on the most popular Czech gymnastic system devised by the patriotic organization Sokol (‘Falcon’) and the story of its introduction in Ireland. At its peak in the 1930s, Sokol was among the largest athletic associations in Europe, and arguably the world. It was founded as Prague Sokol (Sokol Pražský) in 1862 after the relaxation of the Austrian associations legislation, and was the first sports organization of the Czechs. The movement thrived. By 1918 when the Czechoslovak Republic was founded, it had 200,000 members, a figure which had risen to 1 million just after the end of the Second World War. Though it was directly inspired by several small German gymnastic organizations, Sokol declared itself from the very beginning to be a Czech national association, and surpassed the pre-existing German associations in the quantity of members as well as the quality of the programme. The founders of Sokol, Jindřich Fügner and Miroslav Tyrš, aimed at a synthesis of Ancient Greek gymnastic ideals and the romantic ideas of Slavism.2 The ideals of Sokol were symbolized by the uniform, which combined elements of standard 1 See Daniel Samek, Česko-irské kulturní styky v první polovině 20. století / Czech-Irish Cultural Relations, 1900–1950, trans. Ondřej Piln...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.