Martin, you are one of a number of originally sports presenters and commentators who worked their way up to the chair of the presenter of the main news program, others are for example Martin Čermák or Petr Suchoň. What is it?
“We’re just good! (Laughs) But seriously – sportscasters are usually blown away by the TV process, and something doesn’t just throw them off. I’m glad that it’s like that and the athletes are scoring points, because you can see that they’re really great. In addition, sportsmen do not just moderate, they are used to making their own contributions to the news, they know how to process and write them, which is not the case with the moderators of the main news program. One must not be afraid to intervene and deliver a message in a way that is understandable to people.”
You are an example of this – not only do you host Televízní noviny, but you are also the editor of Sportovní. Can it be combined?
“Of course. On the day when I do sports, i.e. the Midday, Afternoon and Evening Sports newspapers, I do not moderate. I vouch for what will happen in sports, what sequence the news will have. And I still host something in sports, for example Dakar. I then take turns editing with my colleagues.”
You also moderated Formula 1. So is it the case that motorsports are closest to you?
“I am a tennis coach by profession, so I started by commenting on tennis. But then I got to tractors, Dakar, formulas and the like. But I also commented on snooker or bowling, for example.”
But you have to keep track of all these sports, will it work?
“To tell you the truth, I didn’t know anything about bowling! Two hours before the start, a colleague dropped out and they came to me to catch up. I say they’re crazy, but a colleague shoved a Playboy into my hand, in which they wrote about bowling, and there were rules among the girls inside. I was embarrassed to walk down the hall with it, but it saved me that I had a German commentator in my headphones while commentating. I was basically just simultaneously translating what he was saying. Then they thought I was a terrible expert.’
Did you also meet your sports icons?
“Maybe with Michael Schumacher. He was a little different from the other Formula 1 drivers. When working as a journalist, you simply meet these people, exchange a few words, but I always just said hello to him. I thought he was an arrogant, unpleasant, manipulative person, but after about two years, when we got to know each other better, I changed my mind. I found out that he acts that way on purpose to keep people away from his body and to maintain some privacy. It was a defense.’
Paradoxically, it was not formula piloting that became fatal for him, but skiing…
“His accident ten years ago helped me in the news in quotes. The head of news at the time, Martin Ondráček, called me just before New Year’s Eve to tell me what had happened to Schumacher and that he needed someone to go to Grenoble to report on his health. I was the moderator of Sportovní noviny, I was supposed to serve, but it was not clear how long I would have to go there. I was given ten seconds to make up my mind.’
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It was difficult?
“It was unpleasant, you are standing in front of a hospital, looking for information and the like. In the end, there were 56 live entries to the news, not only on Nova, but also on the sister Markíza. The management was interested and upon my return they offered me to do the main news.”
Do you come from a sports background?
“Grandfather once played for Hanácká Slavia and dad was a great athlete, a sprinter. Unfortunately, it was in the era of Vilda Mandlík, so he was eternally second. Mom was a figure skater, so I really had no choice but to do sports as well.”
You worked as a tennis coach in Germany, why there and not in the Czech Republic?
“I wanted to leave the Czech Republic. It was the wild nineties, my marriage was falling apart, so I just grabbed my bag and thought I’d try somewhere else. No family, no friends, no outside help, and either I can do it or I can’t. And I’m proud that I did it, it was the best years of my life.”
why did you come back
“I got married and my wife at the time didn’t want to raise her sons in Germany. In addition, there was a television set up here, where Štěpán Škorpil was the head of the sports editorial team, he took me as a co-commentator for a tournament. Thus began my television career. I was fascinated by sports broadcasts from a young age, when we were driving with friends, for example, I commented on it as a rally.”
A few years ago you collapsed in the studio, what happened then?
“It wasn’t in the studio, it was spelled incorrectly. I went to lunch and couldn’t find it. I woke up in an ambulance. Like someone turned me off. When I fell, I cracked my head open and had a slight bleed on the brain. It was from exhaustion. But everything is fine now.’
You once quoted Jiří Sovák, who allegedly once said that a happy life with a woman is out of the question and he knows what to expect from them and what not. What did you mean?
“I have nothing against women in general! But I must say that I tried to live alone for a while and it suited me. You can read, listen to music, you don’t have to explain anything to anyone. And when a woman likes you, you can expect understanding and love from her, but also that sometimes she won’t understand you and a black cloud will come.”
And what not to expect from them? Maybe loyalty? Because you also said that in the context of your divorce…
“It’s hard. Every person is different. But as life has taught me, I don’t expect too much loyalty from women. It would rather surprise a person if the partner was faithful. Years ago I had twenty couples around me who were holding hands, today only one or two of them remain together.”
Do you believe in long-term relationships?
“When two right people meet, yes. I know some who have been together for forty years. When love develops into mutual respect, that’s actually the most important thing.”
By the way, you recently appeared in company accompanied by a beautiful lady. Is this your new partner?
“I won’t go into details and I will respect her privacy. But I will say that she is a lady with whom we have known since childhood, we did not know each other for a long time, after years they met and it sparked…”
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