Prague - Golden Olympic medallist Kateřina Neumannová has involuntarily become a serious candidate for the anti-environmental award called Ropák.
Neumannová earned the nomination just recently for moving snow from Jizerské hory (Jizera Mountain) to a recently built race track in Vesec near Liberec, northern Bohemia, where the World Ski Cup in cross country skiing is to take place this coming weekend.
The annual anti-award Ropák, granted for the most anti-environmental policy or statement, is named after a fictional creature from an Oscar-winning mockumentary by Czech director Jan Svěrák. Ropák lives off of guzzling exhaust fumes and oil.
The Ropák award is organized by a non-governmental environmental organization called Děti země (Children of the Earth) and anybody can contribute with his or her tip for the winner.
In the past few days Děti země received a number of nominations of Kateřina Neumannová who heads the Organizing Committee of the World Ski Cup race in Vesec.
People who nominated Neumannová said she harmed the Nature Reserve of Jizerské hory and destroyed a public cross country ski path that is very popular with hundreds of recreational skiers.
"We are glad that all these nominations of Neumannová help to prove chasing any sports or managerial success has to have its limits and moving snow for professional skiers is rather absurd, as it should be them going after the snow, rather than the snow following them," said Miroslav Patrik from the Děti Země Brno.
Neumannová: No comment
The spokesperson of the World Ski Cup race in Vesec Zdeněk Soudný said for online daily České noviny that Kateřina Neumannová does not intend to comment on the Ropák award nomination.
"The snow moving incident is only a media reality and does not reflect the reality as such. The snow was taken only from a few hundred metres and cross country skiers can use the path again," stated Soudný.
The Neumannová team now faces a fine up to 2 million CZK for breaching the Law on Nature Protection. The organizers were moving the snow from places where no car can enter without a special permission.
The Green Party leader and Minister of Environment Martin Bursík called off his presence at the weekend's ski race earlier this week.
"The organizers decided to resolve the lack of snow at the expense of breaching a law and that is something I cannot agree with. I was looking forward to seeing (the Czech number one crossy country skier and leader of this year´s World Ski Cup) Lukáš Bauer skiing with my own eyes but now I see I won´t," said Bursík.
Miroslav Patrik from the Děti Země said that people nominating Neumannová for the Ropák award would like to see reasonable boundaries when organizing such a ski race. They also dislike the high amount of public money required for organizing such an event.
The low altitude of 450 metres above the sea level is another issue that many consider absurd.
"Neumannová has been nominated for the Ropák award before when taking away artificial snow from the Šumava mountains for a ski race in Prague at the end of last year," said Patrik.
In past, the Ropák anti-prize was awarded, for example, to (then Prime Minister, now President)Václav Klaus for deciding to finish the construction of the controversial Temelín power plant in southern Bohemia and Minister of Environment Martin Říman for his support of brown coal mining in northern Bohemia and attempts to raise limits of emissions.