VIDEO OF THE WEEK: On this day in 1998, Czech hockey stuns the world

On this day 25 years ago, Czechia scored an upset over Russia in the men's ice hockey Olympic final in Nagano. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 22.02.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 22.02.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

It was a victory that few saw coming. Petr Svoboda's final-period goal in the ice hockey final between the Czech Republic and Russia was enough to give the country its first ever gold medal in the sport.

The Czech team stunned the world by beating tournament favorites Canada and Russia to become only the seventh country ever to win a gold medal in ice hockey. Over two decades on, Feb. 22, 1998, is still seen as one of the most significant dates in the country's sporting history.

Thousands in Prague flocked to Old Town Square to watch a live stream of the match on a big screen, before jubilant celebrations in the capital (and across the country) following the Czech Republic's historic victory. The video, which also shows the winning goal, captures people's ecstasy in Prague in the late 1990s.

A rich ice hockey history

Ice hockey is a sport that has brought the Czech Republic fame on an international stage while giving birth to several athletic greats who have cemented the country’s reputation as a hockey superpower.

The country counts among its many hockey accolades the winning of several world championships spanning five decades, including in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, and 2010.

It claimed a bronze Olympic medal at the 2006 Turin Games, again defeating Russia in the battle for third place.

Some of the stars who featured in the 1998 game – Jaromír Jágr, Robert Reichel, Milan Hejduk, David Moravec, Libor Procházka, and Roman Čechmánek – recently returned to the ice for an exhibition match in honor of the anniversary.

A feature Czech film to commemorate the occasion is also being released. "The Children of Nagano" by Dan Pánek will premiere in cinemas will be in February 2023. The film fictionalizes the director's own experience as a child of the 1990s watching the tournament and playing hockey himself.

For those who are interested in learning more about this seminal moment in Czech sports history, the 2018 documentary "The Nagano Tapes" can be streamed online at the Olympics official website.

The documentary focuses on the astonishing fact that these were the first Olympics Games that the North American National Hockey League allowed its players to participate in, and the resulting Czech team featured the world's top hockey talent.

You can also relive the moment by watching the entire final on Olympic TV here.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more