The Czech Republic’s new name rolls off the tongue more easily. It now wants to be known as Czechia, though it will still keep the longer form for various scenarios.
To be clear, the terms ‘Czechia’ and ‘Czech Republic’ have been in use interchangeably in an official capacity since 2016. However, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the nation will henceforth only use the Czech Republic designation for formal contexts, such as on official government documents, embassy relations, and legal correspondence.
Meanwhile, Czechia will from now on be the preferred name for more general and casual settings. You’ll see it across literary works, newspapers, advertising signs, and in instances where the country is being represented in the fields of culture, sports, and science. International committees or politicians might even choose this name to appear more legible “and less distant” on official marketing and meeting collaterals.
In line with the transition, the Czech Tourism Board has rebranded to become VisitCzechia. Its new, more readable logo illustrates why the nation is putting so much weight on a name change.
Czechia’s Olympic team has already gone ahead to identify itself as ‘Czechia’, printing the shorter moniker across jerseys and merchandise.
With the Winter Olympics in full swing in Beijing, two athletes, skier Eileen Gu, and figure skater Zhu Yi, have been trending in two different social media spheres.
Both Californian-born athletes have been receiving intense backlash for changing their nationalities to compete for China.
Gu, an 18-year-old first-year Stanford student and San Francisco native, made history as the youngest-ever Olympic freestyle ski champion. Most Americans have been celebrating online, but conservative commentators are in an uproar over her decision to “switch sides” and win the gold for China.
“It’s ungrateful for her to turn her back on the country that not just raised her, but turned her into a world-class skier,” a right-wing podcaster said in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. “I hope Eileen Gu likes living in China, what a traitor. Born in San Francisco, CA snd competes for Chinese money. Get out!” wrote someone on Twitter.
Gu’s response to the haters? “Cry ab it,” she wrote on TikTok after a commenter asked why she didn’t compete for the US.
Zhu Yi, also known as Beverly Zhu, is a 19-year-old Angeleno who also gave up her US citizenship to compete.
“so so so honored to be representing Team China at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics ✨,” she wrote on Instagram on Jan. 28. “Especially after having a couple rough years, I’m so grateful for those who helped me push past the negative thoughts and injuries; helping me grow throughout this journey.”
“Is she really patriotic?” one commented. “How is one person’s dream bigger than the country? It’s ass backward.” The criticisms came from all sides, with someone commenting on her TikTok this week: “Enjoy China. The bastion of freedom, right? Turncoat.”
Then when Zhu fell during competition, #ZhuYiMistake, #ShameOnZhuYi and #ZhuYiFellDown began trending on Weibo.
The social media reaction to the athletes changing nationalities surprised William Tran, vice president of the Pasadena Figure Skating Club and a figure skating judge.
“It’s completely within the rules, and something many sports are used to,” he told BuzzFeed News. “The United States has had incredible athletes from other countries represent our team, and many athletes have found success representing others.”
Zhu and Gu aren’t the only foreign-born Olympians representing China. Jake Chelios, the white son of National Hockey League star Chris Chelios, will be playing as Jie Ke Kai Liao Si on the Chinese men’s hockey team. Chelios, who is from Illinois and played hockey for a few years in China, told the Associated Press that his new name was “cool” and part of the experience of playing abroad.
“Since I’ve been over here, everything’s kind of new for me, and that’s the exciting part about playing overseas,” he said. “I know two or three words [in Chinese], but I took six years of Spanish in high school. I couldn’t even learn that, so I didn’t even try.”
Former NHL goaltender Jeremy Smith, a white man from Michigan, (competing as Jie Rui Mi Shi Mi Si) will also be competing for China. Most of the roster for China’s women’s hockey team shares heritage in the country, but have been imported from Canada and the United States.
But none of them have had the backlash experienced by Gu and Zhu.
Nationality changes have been occurring since the 1970s, Tran said, allowing athletes to compete on a world stage with more international opportunity that they may not otherwise have. “It’s not always that you’re giving up one citizenship for the other,” he said. “Some nations don’t allow for dual citizenship, but many do.”
One Chinese American user wrote on Twitter, “We’ll always be accepted as a fellow compatriot by Chinese people as long as we maintain cultural ties, while Yanks will never see us as true Americans. Haters are simply proving us right.”
I find this to be the most honest part of the discourse. “As long as we maintain cultural ties” is part of the largest criticism against Zhu, whose ability to speak Mandarin fluently has been hotly contested, while people on social media have stayed fairly quiet about a player like Chelios’s open disinterest in learning the language because he has no Chinese heritage.
But maintaining cultural ties for children of naturalized citizens in the US is not always a matter of choice. Holidays such as Lunar New Year are not yet federally recognized, meaning most states do not implement school holidays or time off work. Generational poverty and difficult living conditions for some families mean paying for language school and having regular cultural education is both a financial and time-scarce burden. And after all of that, choosing to maintain cultural ties can be dangerous, resulting in hate or violence. Fully embracing one’s own identity hinges on conditions people cannot always meet — not by desire, but circumstance.
Of course, there are other factors. Gu achieved a historic win, while Zhu did not. Skating has long been the most-followed sport at the Winter Olympics, so its athletes will tend to draw more buzz (Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu may not have won any medals but his outfits won TikTok). And the long-brewing tension between the US and China makes nationality change a more politically sensitive issue than, for example, one skier’s adjustment from Britain to Jamaica.
The jump to criticize Zhu’s and Gu’s individual patriotism toward either the US or China feels like it was never about nationality change. Instead, the online chatter seems like an opportunity to use young women’s actions to tell others who can and can’t claim identities they were born into, and to brand certain nationalities by a set of baseless rules that only further a particularly hateful perspective.
There is intense pressure on these athletes to win. Figure skating costs anywhere between $35,000 to $50,000 per year, while alpine skiing can cost up to $30,000. “Most of these sports gain most media and fan attention during the Olympics. It’s a once in a four year opportunity to be showcased,” said Tran. “If you keep that in mind, you might understand why someone might make sacrifices in order to compete there.”
Are we really going to bully young women for wanting to do well? If I were an overachieving teen desperate to compete, I’d consider changing my nationality too.
Social media users are criticizing American-born Eileen Gu – who won a gold medal in skiing competing for China – for taking advantage of posting on Instagram, which is banned in the country.
Instagram is blocked in China, as are other global social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
The block first started in 2014 amid the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as a means for the Chinese government to control how its citizens use western social media
Gu, 18, who was born in California to an American father and a Chinese mother (who is also her coach) and took home gold in the women’s big freeski, was taken to task for her use of the photo app.
‘Why can you use Instagram and millions of Chinese people from mainland cannot,’ one user fired off at Gu in a screenshot that made the rounds on Chinese social app Weibo.
‘[A]nyone can download a vpn its literally free on the App Store,’ said Gu, referring to virtual private networks (VPN), which are designed to get around the web restrictions of various countries.
Some were irate in response.
‘Literally, I’m not ‘anyone.’ Literally, it’s illegal for me to use a VPN. Literally, it’s not fxxking free at all,’ one user replied.
China has blocked several VPN services in recent years, even going as far as to criminalize those who use them to get around the ‘Great Firewall.’
In November, Beijing introduced rules that would seek to ban VPN providers.
The screenshot was eventually censored on Weibo after it had been shared over 3,000 times.
The original post still exists, but the screenshot of her VPN comment went blank.
‘What is there to brag about a country where [that screenshot] can’t see the light of day?’ another Weibo user asked.
The IOC declined to comment on the situation. Rule 50 of the IOC handbook permits athletes to speak freely on matters of their choosing outside the confines of competition.
Gu, nicknamed the ‘Snow Princess’, amassed an army of cynics when she spurned Team USA to represent China at the Beijing Games – but she told critics after her win: ‘I’m just as American as I am Chinese’.
As Gu won her gold medal, praise for the San Franciscan quite literally overwhelmed the Chinese internet.
Of the top 10 trending topics on the platform on Weibo at the time, five were dedicated to adoration for the 18-year-old champion.
‘Gu Ailing is a genius young woman right?’ was one trending topic referencing her Chinese name.
‘Dad was Harvard, Mom was Peking University, Stanford, Grandmother was an athlete. She’s beautiful and classy,’ said one post recirculated 86,000 times.
The teenager, who is undoubtedly the Winter Olympics poster girl after her Vogue magazine and Paris fashion appearances, did not allow her glittering lifestyle to overshadow her sporting prowess.
However, Gu has remained evasive about her attempts to toe the line between the United States and China.
China does not allow dual nationality, and state media have previously reported that the 18-year-old renounced her U.S. citizenship after she became a Chinese national at the age of 15.
Gu would not confirm that on Tuesday.
‘So I grew up spending 25-30% (of my time) in China. I’m fluent in Mandarin and English and fluent culturally in both,’ she answered, when asked if she was still an American citizen.
‘So coming here, I really feel there was a sense of coming home. I feel just as American as Chinese. I don’t feel I’m taking advantage of one or another. They understand that my mission is to foster a connection between countries and not a divisive force.’
When the reporter asked again, the news conference moderator interjected: ‘Next question, please.’
The fashion model and incoming Stanford University student whose Weibo following has ballooned to almost three million from just under two million on Monday, says she feels at home in China.
‘There’s like a tower here you can see from the top of the course. And I’m also seeing it from my house in Beijing,’ she explained, where her face is ubiquitous in advertising.
Gu told her critics: ‘I am not trying to keep anyone happy. I am an 18 year old girl living my life and trying to have a great time.’
She added: ‘It doesn’t really matter if other people are happy or not because I feel as though I am doing my best.
‘I’m enjoying the entire process, and I’m using my voice to create as much positive change as I can for the voices who will listen to me in an area that is personal and relevant to myself.
‘I know that I have a good heart and I know my reasons for making the decisions I do are based on a greater common interest and something I feel is for the greater good.
‘If other people don’t really believe that that’s where I’m coming from, then that just reflects that they do not have the empathy to empathize with a good heart, perhaps because they don’t share the same kind of morals that I do and, in that sense, I’m not going to waste my time trying to placate people who are, one, uneducated and, two, probably never going to experience the kind of joy and gratitude and love that I have the great fortune to experience on a daily basis.’
She said her critics did not share the empathy she had and that she refused to bow down to them.
Gu is not the only American competing for China in Beijing. Two members of the Chinese men’s hockey team – including Jake Chelios, son of Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios – are also born and raised in the US.
The road to a global sporting event such as the Olympics does not come easy for most athletes, but it’s much more difficult for those without the support and resources to begin with.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him, his love, and support,” Jordan Windle told NBC Sports of his father, Jerry Windle.
Jordan, 22, was adopted as an 18-month-old boy in Cambodia. His birth parents died when he was just a year old and, for the next few months, he would live in an orphanage in Phnom Penh.
It was in that orphanage that Jerry — then a single gay man who struggled to adopt in the U.S. — would find him as a toddler suffering from malnutrition, scabies and severe infections. Jerry took him home to Florida, nursed him back to health and ultimately became his father.
Now, Jordan is in Tokyo for the Summer Olympics, representing the U.S. in diving.
Jordan’s Olympic ambitions began at age 7. After catching the attention of Tim O’Brien, son of famed diving coach Ron O’Brien, at a diving camp, Jordan entered the Fort Lauderdale diving program and soared through the ranks, according to Outsports.
It was also during this time when he met Olympic gold medalist and LGBT activist Greg Louganis. He was even called “Little Louganis.”
After three Olympic trials — first at age 13, then at age 16 — Jordan achieved his dream of 15 years and qualified for the men’s platform event in June. And while his father cannot be with him due to COVID-19 restrictions, he is still “super excited” about it.
“I can usually hear (my dad) out of everyone in the audience, which is awesome. Not having him at the Olympics will be different,” Jordan told Today. “I wish he was there, but that doesn’t really change what I’m going there to do: To have fun, show off a little bit, and put on a show for everyone. That’s going to be my intention and I’m hopefully going to make him proud.”
The father and son celebrated their story in a children’s book that they co-authored in 2011. The book, titled “An Orphan No More: The True Story of a Boy,” tells the story of a rooster who was told by other animals that he cannot be a father without a hen. One day, he stumbles upon an egg that no one wants. What hatches is a duckling, but despite their different looks, the two would prove, in Louganis’ words, that “where there is love, there is family.”
In 2016, Jordan returned to Cambodia to perform a diving exhibition for orphans. He sought to inspire the children he was once among and show them what they can achieve.
Jordan is competing in the 3-meter and 10-meter events. His first competition (3-meter Springboard Prelim) is scheduled for Aug. 2 at 3 p.m. (Tokyo time).
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich acknowledges the challenges ahead of the NBA this season as teams reports to training camp, explains how he plans to approach coaching the Team USA Basketball team at the Summer Olympics and shares how the Spurs will maintain the up-tempo style they experimented with in the Disney bubble.
Peacock is a new streaming service that makes hundreds of NBC TV shows and Universal films available for free. Comcast, NBCUniversal’s parent company, officially launched free and premium versions of Peacock on July 15, though some Comcast internet and cable customers have had early access to the service since April.
Peacock was intended to launch alongside the 2020 Olympics to provide a live stream for the Summer Games in Tokyo, but the linchpin event has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the major disruption, NBCUniversal managed to launch Peacock as scheduled.
Peacock has brokered deals for new original series produced by Tina Fey and Kevin Hart, as well as rights to stream classic series like “Law & Order” and “Will and Grace.” “The Office,” a perennial Netflix favorite and one of NBC’s most beloved series, will move to Peacock in January 2021. A new original series adapting the book “Brave New World” has already debuted on Peacock, along with original films, like “Psych 2,” and exclusive documentaries, like Dale Earnhard Jr’s “Lost Speedways.”
Peacock’s library is also full of classic Universal movies, and the streaming service has announced that all eight “Harry Potter” movies will be coming to the platform over the next six months. Other franchises, like “Jurassic Park” and “Fast & Furious,” will be available on a rotating basis as well.
Peacock will also feature live sporting events, like the Premier League and the 2021 Olympics. A number of popular sports radio shows, including “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and “PFT Live with Mike Florio” will also stream exclusively on Peacock.
In this clip, Michael Jai White and Vlad talked about the world of bodybuilding and the psychology behind those who enter the sport. Michael said the thought process behind those who become bodybuilders compares to the mentality of a fighter but added that they both have unsatisfying financial returns. He also talked about some of his friends in the bodybuilding world, pointing out longtime friend and famed bodybuilder Troy Alves actually got him into formal martial arts classes.
Really digging the 2024 Summer Olympics logo! It’s a 24 that mirrors The Eiffel Tower. I’m guessing the painterly brush aesthetic is a nod to Paris’ art & fashion culture too.
Having previously hosted the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics, Paris will become the second city to host the Olympic Games three times, along with London (1908, 1948, and 2012). The 2024 Games also mark the centennial of the 1924 Games. This will be the sixth overall Olympic Games held in France (including summer and winter Games).