Czechs open doors to their Olympic home in Islington
Islington’s very own Olympic village opened last week as the Czech Republic team launched its official home for the Games.
The Business Design Centre in Parkfield Street became Czech House – a celebration of all things from the eastern European country.
In a gala opening ceremony on Friday, Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president, gave a speech alongside the Mayor of Islington, Jilani Chowdhury, before a laser show and performances by Czech musicians.
Visitors this week have included the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, and Czech sports stars Thomas Rosicky of Arsenal and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. There will be bands such as Monkey Business, Charlie Straight and Support Lesbiens.
Apart from the special guests, visitors to the 2,500-capacity centre will find a variety of Czech activities to keep them amused. There is an official Czech Olympic shop, a bar serving Czech beer and a restaurant offering traditional delicacies from Bohemia.
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For the more active there is a three-on-three basketball court, a host of computer game consoles and a stage for varied live music – from funk to classical.
Exhibitions along the balcony show off some of the best in Czech photography, art, culture and tourism. The venue is guarded by the famous Red Booster; artist David Cerny’s press-up performing bus.
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Big screens will show live sport throughout the Games, focusing particularly on Czech medal attempts and award ceremonies.
Jir� Kejval, vice-president of the Czech Olympic Committee, said: “If you’ve ever wanted to know the answer to the question ‘what have the Czechs given us?’ you will find out at the Czech House.
“We will also present the Czech Republic and its constituent regions as being home to a modern and culturally active society with a highly developed economy and a passion for sport.”
n Czech House will be open from 10am to midnight daily until August 12. Entry costs �5, visit www.czechhouse.co.uk for more details.