Benecko is the birthplace of many Czech ski stars. Let’s remember the best of the best.
Master Bohumil Hanč
* 19.11.1886 Benecko, † 24.3.1913 Labská meadow, Giant Mountains
The best Czech cross-country skier of his time, multiple champion in the 50 km cross-country skiing. He died tragically with his friend Václav Vrbata during an international 50 km cross-country ski race during Easter 1913 when the weather suddenly turned extremely bad. He was the only one who didn’t give up in the battle with not only his Czech friends, but especially with competitors from abroad. This unfortunately resulted in exhaustion, loss of orientation and subsequent freezing. Vrbata lent Hanč part of his clothing in an attempt to save him, sacrificing his life in the process.
In their honour, 24 March is celebrated as Mountain Service Day. The cairn of Hanč and Vrbata is located on the Golden Hill near Vrbatova bouda, and a small cairn is located directly on the site of the tragedy on Labská louka meadow (on the path from Vrbatova bouda along the edge of Labský důl to Labská bouda). A book called Sons of the Mountains was written about the story and a film of the same namewas made.
* 16.11.1886 Mrklov (today part of Benecko), † 6.5.2010 Jilemnice
The outstanding cross-country skier had much of his career taken away by World War II. For a long time he even raced and trained without the professional help of a coach. Nevertheless, he was unbeatable in his time in our country in races over 50 km and other distances. He won 14 national titles in a row! He took part in two World Championships and three Winter Olympic Games (1948 St. Moritz, 1952 Oslo and 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo), always with excellent results. He was the first “non-Scandinavian” skier to finish in a great 8th place at the Winter Olympic Games in St. Moritz. After the end of his career he worked as a manager of the ski stadium in Svatý Petr in Špindlerův Mlýn.
Šárka Strachová (Zahrobská)
Šárka Strachová, the most successful Czech downhill racer of her time and of the Czech and Czechoslovak history, was born in the middle of the slopes of Benecko. During her racing career she has won a complete set of World Championship medals in slalom, a bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and many other valuable medals in World Cup downhill skiing races, including victories. Take a look at the list of her greatest achievements.
1st place MS Are 2007, Sweden – slalom
2nd place MS Val d’ Iser 2009, France – slalom
3rd place MS Santa Catarina 2005, Italy – slalom
3rd place MS Vail / Beaver Creek 2015, Colorado – slalom
3rd place Winter Olympic Games Vancouver 2010, Canada – slalom
1st place Aspen 2008, USA – slalom
1st place Aspen 2009, USA – slalom