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24 Seconds With Ivana Vecerová

25 June 2008

Summers like the one Ivana Vecerová is having don't come any bigger.

The Czech Republic center has just qualified for the Beijing Games, which means she'll play at an Olympics for the second time after also taking part in Greece four years ago.

And, the long-time Gambrinus Brno star has decided to go on a Spanish adventure by joining Ros Casares Valencia for next season.

At the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Spain, Vecerová spent 24 seconds with FIBA Europe.

FIBA Europe: Ivana, you are very lucky. You get to go to the Olympics again to play basketball. What do you remember most about 2004 when you played there with the Czech Republic?

Vecerová: (smiling) I remember the gym, the atmosphere there and mostly the Olympic Village. You get to live in the village with famous athletes, like runners. I don't feel famous, but sitting down and eating beside them, it's just very special.

FIBA Europe: When did you start playing basketball?

Vecerová: I was 10 years old.

FIBA Europe: Has the sport in the Czech Republic always been big and successful?

Vecerová: It was when I started playing, but there were five years when it wasn't so good. Now, this generation has brought it back again.

FIBA Europe: Can you remember the first big success for this team?

Vecerová: It was the 2003 European Championship. We won the silver medal and qualified for the Olympics in Greece.

FIBA Europe: When you go to Brno, or Prague, you can't help but notice that the women's game is popular there. During the EuroLeague Women Final Four in April, we even saw children running around Brno wearing Gambrinus jerseys with the name VECEROVA on the back.

Vecerová: Basketball is popular there, but the league is weak. It has become a little more difficult, but there are three teams that can't compete with us (Gambrinus Brno).

FIBA Europe: Ivana, life isn't all basketball. What do you like to do when you are not practicing or playing the game?

Vecerová: I like to rest, sometimes do other sports or go outside to the forest to walk a dog. I like to read books, be with friends, sometimes just stay in bed.

FIBA Europe: What kind of dog do you have?

Vecerová: It's a dog. It's not my dog. I just borrow it. Hmm, what kind of a dog is it (smiling?) It's a big dog.

FIBA Europe: A German Shepherd?

Vecerová: Yes, that's it.

FIBA Europe: So, anything else?

Vecerová: Oh yes. I like to go to movies, to the theatre. I have many friends who are classical dancers.

FIBA Europe: The Czech Republic is a beautiful and very interesting country. Wouldn't you agree?

Vecerová: Yes, and it's great for history, but when I come here (to Spain) or go abroad, I get to see other things. However, I've still not visited everything in Prague or even in Brno.

FIBA Europe: Where will you eventually live once you have stopped playing basketball?

Vecerová: I will probably stay in the Czech Republic. I like it and I like the people there.

FIBA Europe: Thanks for the chat. Good luck with the Olympics.

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