Czech National Anthem faces Makeover After being Branded too Short and not Patriotic Enough

Czech flags being waved at the 2018 Winter Paralympics

The Czech national anthem faces the prospect of a makeover after complaints that it is too short and insufficiently patriotic.

The criticism came from the Czech Olympic Committee, which argues that the fact the anthem is just one verse long and lasts only 45 seconds means gold-medal winning athletes have little time to bask in their glory on the podium.

The lilting lyrics of “Kde Domov Muj?” (Where is My Home?) also focus on the beauty of the Czech countryside rather than stirring deeds of patriotic derring-do.

“Our goal is not to get things changed by law or to dictate to anybody,” said Jiri Kejval, chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee.

“We want to start a discussion about something new. It is through sport, after all, that most people hear the anthem.”

Mr Kejval said that Czech athletes who have trained hard to be the best complain they have too little time on the podium owing to the anthem’s brevity.

“We probably have the second shortest national anthem in Europe,” Mr Kejval said. “The average is around 80 seconds. It’s a shame athletes don’t have more time enjoy their success.”

The committee also argues that the lyrics lack self-confidence and patriotism.

“Where is My Home?” was adopted as the first part of the Czechoslovak national anthem in 1918 and for many years was sandwiched together with the Slovak anthem.

Following the Velvet Divorce at the start of 1993, when Czechoslovakia split apart, the Czech section was left on its own.

To address the problem the Olympic Committee commissioned a composer to come up with an alternative, and longer, arrangement of the anthem, which incorporates lines from a long discarded second verse.

But so far public appetite for change is low. “I think we have beautiful anthem and there is no need to change it,” said Andrzej Babis, the Czech prime minister.

An opinion poll in rozhlas.cz, a Czech news website, also found that 98 per cent disapproved of the new version of the anthem.

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