Czech Olympic Committee drops ‘Czech Republic’ for ‘Czechia’

The change, which should be in effect for the 2024 Olympics, is part of an effort to unify how the country is presented internationally.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 02.11.2022 10:30:00 (updated on 02.11.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

“Czechia” scored another point in the debate over what to call the landlocked Central European country, ČTK reports.

The executive committee of the Czech Olympic Committee (ČOV) decided that the country should officially be listed as “Czechia” instead of “Czech Republic” for international sports. The ČOV will ask the International Olympic Committee to change the name in the international sports database.

This will help to unify Czech identity in sports and other areas internationally. “We are following the examples of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which already made this change at the UN and NATO,” ČOV vice chairman Roman Kumpošt said in a press release.

“Naturally, this name was adopted at the international level by a number of other organizations, and it is a logical outcome for sports as well. In our case, the vast majority of Olympic sports spoke in favor of this change," Kumpošt added.

Changing the name in the Olympic database should not take long. “This is a formal step that can be implemented within a few weeks,” he said.

What national name should Czechs use in the Olympics?

Czech Republic 33 %
Czechia 62 %
Česko 5 %
103 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open

Czech teams should already compete at the 2024 Olympics in Paris under the name Czechia. But for sports associations and national teams, the change also brings added costs for new uniforms and other equipment.

Currently, the Czech national teams for basketball, ice hockey, and football use “Česko,” which is the short form in the Czech language, on their uniforms.

In April, the Czech sports associations met at Černín Palace, the seat of the Foreign Ministry, to discuss the name topic. They were looking at three options: Czech Republic, Czechia, or Česko.

The participants decided that either “Czechia” or “Česko” should be used, but not “Czech Republic.” The National Sports Agency, the ČOV, the Czech Sports Union, and the Czech Sokol Community were all in favor of a single-word name.

This would be in line with what most other countries do. For example, France competes under that name and not “French Republic,” which is its official long-form name. The matter then went to the ČOV for a final decision.

“In order to go to the Olympics in 2024 under a new name, we must make that decision now,” ČOV’s Kumpošt said in April.

While it seems to be a simple matter, the use of the name “Czechia” has been a hot topic among English speakers in the Czech lands. The debate has been dragging on since 1993 when the Czech Republic was created after the breakup of Czechoslovakia.

Many English speakers say that “Czechia” sounds too much like “Chechnya,” for example, and causes confusion. Others simply don’t like the sound of the short form. But use of “the Czech Republic” seems to be falling out of favor of late as more organizations adopt one of the short forms.

Czechia was registered with the United Nations as the official short name in 2016. In July of that year, the name was entered alongside “Czech Republic” in the official UN Database of Geographical Names. In 2017 the name began appearing on Google Maps.

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