The Czech Republic will now appear on the sports scene under the one-word name Czechia.
On Tuesday, the Czech Olympic Committee (COC) will ask the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to enter the new name into the international sports database. It will replace the previously name “Czech Republic”.
“This is a formal step that can be implemented within a few weeks”, according to Roman Kumpošt, vice-president of the Czech Olympic Committee.
Officials from various sports associations supported the gradual transition to the one-word name at the April conference. Basketball, hockey and football have already started using the unified name of Czechia.
“We are following the approach of the Foreign Ministry, which has already made this change at the UN or NATO. Naturally, many other organizations have adopted this name at the international level and it is a logical outcome in sports as well. In our case, the vast majority of Olympic sports were in favour of this change,” said Roman Kumpošt, Vice-Chairman of the COC for International Relations.
“Czechia” was adopted as the official name of the country in 2016, coming in addition to the longer and more widely used “Czech Republic”.
The change in the database used to create sport results should not take long. “This is a formal step that can be implemented within a few weeks,” Kumpošt added.
The official change could become effective from the next 2024 Paris Olympics, although some have warned that a transitional period was necessary to change sports equipment and promotional material.
Czechia was used in Latin texts centuries ago as an equivalent to Bohemia, referring to the western part of the country comprising Prague.
In the first English translation of the Czech anthem — titled “Where is my home?” — poet Josef Vaclav Sladek wrote “Czechia, my fatherland” in the 19th century.
After the Czechoslovakia (Ceskoslovensko) split, there were no doubts about Slovakia or “Slovensko” as the name broke away as smoothly as the country itself.
But Czechs were reluctant to use the short name, also because of opposition in the eastern historic lands of Moravia and Silesia, which felt it slighted their territory.
Former Czech President Vaclav Havel once said hearing “Cesko” felt like “having slugs creeping down” his body.