for the remainder of Chalupa’s career. The
adaptable Chalupa first went into the men’s
quadruple sculls, and then aimed to qualify for
the Beijing Olympics in the double at the 2007
World Rowing Championships. The boat missed out
on qualification and the following year Chalupa
moved into the pair, hoping to qualify for Beijing
at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta.
Finishing first or second would be necessary to
qualify for the Olympics. Taking the race to a photo
finish for second, Chalupa’s boat just missed out.
Chalupa calls it his toughest time. “We were then
waiting for the wildcard to get to go to Beijing,”
says Chalupa. “We continued to do full training
for three weeks but the motivation wasn’t there
because we didn’t know if we were going. So there
was a lot of tension between me and my training
partner. When we found out we were going we
© Peter Spurrier/Intersport-Images
that would watch us when we travelled to other
countries,” says Chalupa. “Now it’s a big change
with freedom when we travel. We just pack up
Chalupa has not yet felt the full impact of life after
rowing as he still feels like he is in his standard
post-season rest period but he says he feels good.
“I like to go to the gym but I don’t miss rowing. I’m
busy with starting my own business so I think I will
possibly feel the impact in five or six months’ time.”
Chalupa’s legacy will live on in the Chalupa Cup
regatta. The Cup, which began in 1993 started as
1km races and now they are 200m. “It’s all about
people and having fun. It happens in my home
town and it’s extremely popular, each year we have
to work out how to facilitate the large crowds. The
Czech TV covers it.”
Vaclav Chalupa (left) won silver
in the men’s single sculls at the
1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
Thomas Lange (GER) won gold
and Kajetan Broniewski (POL)
Chalupa’s rowing experience saw the fall of
Czechoslovakia and the rise of the new Czech
Republic, but he says there was little change to his
sporting regime when the communist government
was overthrown during the Velvet Revolution
“I feel that the conditions for me were similar in
terms of preparation and money before and after
the revolution, but during the communist time
there were always problems with visas and we
always had a companion and a group coordinator
In the Czech Republic, Chalupa is a well-known
athlete. “The public perceives Vaclav as a knight
of the sport,” says Czech rowing director Premysl
Panuska, “and with the announcement of his
retirement there were several ceremonies and
awards including a medallion presented by Czech
Although Chalupa is not currently involved in
rowing, his son Vaclav has taken up the sport.
Chalupa also has a one-and-a-half-year-old baby
so it is likely there will be rowing in Chalupa’s life
for a long time to come.
■ M.S. B.
Thanks to Romana Jennings for interviewing Vaclav Chalupa on
17 November, 2009, commemoration day of the Velvet Revolution.