CHELSEA 2012: PETR CECH
With just over 100 days to go before London's big summer sporting event, Petr Cech is the next Chelsea player to look back and forward as he answers our Olympic questionnaire…
What is your earliest Olympic memory?
They mostly come from Barcelona in 1992. I remember '88 when Ben Johnson won the 100m and later he was disqualified for doping. As a kid you never really support anyone but as we never had a Czech guy running in the final of the 100m, at the time it was him that I wanted to win and obviously I was really disappointed when I found out.
We had Jan Zelezny competing in the javelin in 1992 when he got the medals and became one of the best javelin throwers in the world. He won many Olympic medals and world championships so from that time I was already aware of the Olympics as well as football. I don't really remember watching Olympic football. It's usually the U23s and it's not the same as the World Cup or European Championships.
What are you looking forward to seeing in London 2012?
I have my friend Radek Stepanek playing in the Olympic tennis tournament so this is something I would like to watch. There will be some athletes I know and I will try and get to the events. I want to go definitely one day to the athletics if I can and then tennis will be mainly the priority because I don't think I will have that much time. We will be in pre-season so it will be busy but I might watch some on TV.
Who to look out for from the Czech Republic?
Petra Kvitova is competing in the tennis and she might have a chance to win a gold medal, and then she is playing the mixed doubles with Radek Stepanek so they may have a chance to get something. We could have a chance in judo, we could have a chance in athletics but I don't think any more in the decathlon which was our priority for a long time because of Roman Sebrle (pictured below) who has won the gold. He is 37 now but he might still be able to compete with the guys. Barbora Špotáková , the javelin thrower, might get a medal, that is a big hope. We've got a few prospects, hopefully it will happen. We are good in the shooting as well.
How does the Olympics compare with the World Cup?
The problems is if you only take the Under 23s. With the Olympic Games you have the best athletes from every discipline and sport, the elite athletes. I remember before the Winter Olympic Games there was a huge dispute in terms of ice hockey. The best players were playing national hockey league in the USA or Canada, they don't have a break, they are not freed by their clubs, so the tournament is not the same because the players are not involved.
In the 1998 Nagano Games it was the first time that they stopped the national hockey league and all the best players went and played in the tournament. Czech Republic won and everyone then said this is the best medal because the best players went to the tournament. If you go to the World Cup you have everybody taking their best players and then you know if you win you really are the best team out there. In terms of football at the Olympics you only have the U23 teams and I think it is a pity because it is a fantastic competition.
Have you seen the Olympic Stadium?
I haven't been there, I have only seen the pictures and video footage from the stadium. It looks very good and I think because Great Britain generally is a sporting nation it will have a great atmosphere.
How will London fare as a host city?
It will be busy! I think the advantage will be that the village is close and competitor won't have to travel from one side of the city to the other side. I remember in Sydney 2000 the village was in Sydney, the main venues were in Sydney but the camps were in Melbourne hundreds of miles away and the Czech guys just watched on TV and didn't get a feel of the atmosphere.
If you had to pick one event to take part in which would you choose?
Tennis, possibly, or javelin.
Who would be in your Chelsea 4x100 metres relay team?
Daniel Sturridge, Fernando Torres is not slow so he would be in there, Ashley Cole would be there and maybe Ramires because he has good endurance for running longer distance, so he could last long in the 100m.