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Olympic champion, decathlete and presenter of the main evening news on Television Prima, Roman Šebrle talks about work, family and luxury.

Fast confession - Roman Šebrle: A five-thousand-crown bet with his son

Tereza Janatová
01.Feb 2017
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7 minutes

Making a crazy bet with his son or running out of the house in his underpants to catch the dustmen – that is no problem for him. Roman has everything, just not a boring life. In this interview for Luxury Prague Life, Roman revealed why he no longer has so much time for sport, who wears the trousers in his house and also what his plans for the future are. 

The last time we met, it was before you started presenting the news on Prima. You told me then that you hoped you would have time to play golf. Have you?

I suppose I would need a bit more time, but what can you do. I do try to do things in such a way that I find some time. But it is difficult, particularly in winter, finding a place to go and train.

And what about other sports?

I have got quite a bit of time for those. I sometimes have a game of football and I also go running and do weights.

Now that you have started to do a “sedentary job” behind the presenter’s desk and have less physical activity, do you try to work out all the harder?

I have to. When I stopped top-level sport, things were still OK for a little while. I didn’t have to do anything for eight months. But then I started to notice it. Now I notice it even more because it has been quite a long time now. It will be four years soon. But I do keep an eye on it now. I am running again and doing weights and trying to eat well to get back in shape.

Prodej luxusního bytu, Praha 1 - Nové Město
Prodej luxusního bytu, Praha 1 - Nové Město, Praha 1

Hold on. To get back in shape? That’s a bit of an exaggeration, isn’t it?

Maybe. In terms of the normal population it’s OK, but when you get used to something, then it bothers you. 

I noticed that you once complained that you had put on weight. That was around Christmastime?

You could say that, but I was eating quite badly in general and wasn’t running much because I didn’t have the time or the inclination. I am back again now. I have got stuck into it and have even made a bet with my son.

About what?

I don’t even remember how it all came about anymore. It was all a bit of fun. I said that I would have a six-pack again and my son said that it would be a six-pack of beers at the very most. So I said that I would get my six-pack back by July. We bet that if I didn’t manage to do it, I would give him five thousand crowns and if I did, he would give me five hundred. But another condition I insisted on was that his grade point average was at most 1.8. He is in the eighth class, so that’s pretty good I think.

And will he have to work hard for that grade, or will he manage it easily?

I’m not sure whether I shouldn’t have been a bit more demanding, because now he had 1.7 and he only had grade 1 in four subjects. Music, art, P.E. and civic studies. 

You should be happy about the P.E. At least he takes after you.

Hold on! If he didn’t get a 1 in P.E., he would be in trouble! If he puts a bit of effort in with English, he could improve his score.

Athletes are mostly disciplined. When they set themselves a goal, they go all out for it. Are you sometimes able to let yourself off the leash too?

I am. But it is more that you underestimate things and then all of a sudden realise that things are not the way your thought they would turn out. But I really do have the advantage that when I say to myself “right, now I really am going to stick at it and go for it”, I usually do so.

What is your goal at the moment?

I don’t think you could say I have any specific goal at the moment. At the moment, it is more like me concentrating on what I am doing and trying to do it well. I am changing my golf trainer to try to improve my game.

The original trainer wasn’t any good?

He wasn’t bad. He was excellent. But we sort of came to an agreement with my team which wanted me to change him. So I said to myself that maybe it would help me to progress. And as far as the news is concerned, I found an exercise to do on the internet and since I started doing it, I feel a little more at ease. There is always room for improvement. Apart from improvement, the goals couldn’t really be anything else in the news, but in golf, as soon as I improve, the results will be visible.

You said that you feel more at ease reading the news. Have you got a special recipe how to reach that state of ease when you are not feeling well? For example during the news. At the start it was a bit of a witch-hunt as far as your presenting skills were concerned. That probably throws you off a bit. Were you all the more nervous because of that?

What people wrote or said didn’t make me nervous, because I am not so blind and deaf as to not have known that it really wasn’t all that good at the start. But the preparation was really short. I started doing something I knew nothing about. It was like throwing somebody who can’t swim into the middle of a lake. You either sink or swim. I am swimming so far.

You have certainly made some progress.

The main thing there was that I don’t have any background in radio, speaking or doing reports, where I would have found out what suits me and what doesn’t. Or also in front of the camera for example. I lacked that progression there. I had to find out everything for myself and still do. 

And what about in sport? Did somebody throw you into a lake with that too sometime in the past?

Not in sport, no.

You probably couldn’t really do that there, could you?

What I tried in presenting is not possible there. In presenting, I basically went straight from the district championships straight into the Olympics. In sport, if you are competing in the district championships, your performance is not good enough to get you to the Olympics and nobody would take you there. That progression must be there in sport.

Prodej luxusního bytu 5+kk Praha 7 - Bubeneč
Prodej luxusního bytu 5+kk Praha 7 - Bubeneč, Praha 7

Let me just digress slightly. You are regarded as an idol among women. How do you like that?

Above all, I don’t think I am any sort of idol. People like looking up to someone who has achieved something in their field, and all the more if it is the number one sporting discipline, which athletics certainly is. But I have never regarded myself as an idol and when I was doing athletics I couldn’t really have cared less. Now that I am working in television, I do like it. 

Do you know what has just sprung to mind? How they recently wrote about how your son photographed you in your underpants. Did viewing figures increase because of that?

I don’t know! I think the only way the figures would increase would be if I read the news in my underpants. But that did surprise me. Such a stupid thing and how people were interested in it. Social networks these days are a crazy thing. But I thought it was funny. Seeing as I had already run after those dustmen and my son had taken the photo, I said to myself why not put in on Facebook.

Do you run after the dustmen like that a lot?

No. That was the first time and it was actually quite by accident. We have lived there for twelve or thirteen years, so it has happened to me quite a few times that I just forgot to put the bins out. I’ve got an application in my telephone which reminds me about it, but even so, you just forget. There really was a lot of rubbish. Although I have got another property I can take it to, I can never be bothered to do that. So when my wife shouted out that the dustmen were there, I realised that I hadn’t put them out and I just quickly threw on a jacket, put my shoes on and ran outside.

Haven’t the neighbours been peeking out from behind the curtains since then to liven up their morning a bit?

(Laughs) There is nothing to get all excited about as I don’t run out like that on a regular basis.

But there have been a lot of flattering compliments about you. How in fact to you take compliments?

Everyone likes compliments. Luckily however, I am able to distinguish between two types of compliment. Those from people who I know admire me and from people who understand or who have a normal relationship with me. If the compliment is too great, you know it is exaggerated. Then there are the compliments you accept. But I think that not only those compliments are a good thing, but also criticism. 

Can you accept that?

It is the same as with those compliments. Just as there are people who praise me whatever the circumstances, there are also people who criticise me whatever the circumstances. Regardless of what I might do. I only think about criticism like that a bit and then tend rather to forget about it.

So which criticism is good criticism?

I suppose when one of my family or friends criticises me and then you really do think whether they were right and you can learn from it and get something good out of it. 

What about criticism from your son?

I am able to take criticism from him. For example, as regards fashion. He has good taste unlike me.

How old is he?

Fourteen. I really am able to take criticism from him. Maybe even much more than from my wife, because women are sometimes too critical. 

Seeing as we are already talking about clothing, who dresses you?

My wife dresses me. She and my son have good fashion sense. My daughter unfortunately inherited her ways from me and is not interested in fashion.

So who in fact wears the trousers in your house?

That’s hard to say. Probably me. But only with regards to the more important things and there are not many of them. My wife is in charge for everything else. I realised that when we were furnishing the house. First of all, we argued about what we would buy and how we would furnish the house. But when we had furnished two rooms, we realised that we have the same taste and even if we didn’t, women do spend time at home more often and I realised that if I left it to her, it wouldn’t be so bad anyway and that I would like what she had done. So I left it all up to her.

How in fact do you make your wife happy? Do you try to treat her to luxury things?

Luckily my wife has the same opinion about that as me. She is a reasonable and modest person. I think the main luxury she has is travelling places with me almost every month. We either go alone or with the children. It might be to Italy, Spain, the mountains … So I think that is a luxury for her.

And for you?

I am not really the sort of person who goes looking for luxury. I am quite conservative. For example, the friends I have from my childhood. I am not exactly the richest of people, but I do have friends among the richest. I think that I am quite level-headed in the way I live and what I can afford. I know not to overdo things. So I treat myself within those bounds I have set myself. I can imagine even greater luxury, but I don’t even really want that. The greatest luxury for me is to be content.

Fast confession:

Presenting the news or sport?


Who is your favourite actor?

Probably Leonardo DiCaprio.

Muscles or a high IQ?

A high IQ and big muscles.

What is your favourite place in Prague?

My favourite place in Prague... I suppose it is probably Dejvice.

House or flat?


The most beautiful woman in the world?

Of course my wife and my daughter.

Your lifelong dream?

My lifelong dream is probably to play better golf and present the news even better. At this moment in time. Those dreams are changing. So who knows what they will be.

What do you hate about women?

I hate it when women don’t have a sense of humour.

Who in your opinion is the best presenter?

The best presenter of shows and for hosting various events is definitely Bouček or Mareš. I like them. I also really like Eben. As far as the television news is concerned, probably Karel. Voříšek.

What is your favourite breakfast?

My absolute favourite, when I have time for it, is yogurt with some sort of roll.

What did you want to be when you grew up when you were a child?

A sailor.

Which characteristics do you not like about yourself?


What are you best at?

The decathlon. Well, not anymore! Probably not any more, oh well.

What sort of husband are you?

An untidy one.
Question by the interviewee to the editor:

What would I ask you? That is not something I could ask on television! No, I am joking. What sort of wife are you?

I am of course the best wife.
I should have said that too, that I am the best husband. That’s a good answer.
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