Prague, Czech Republic – “Record breaking is a serious business”, the Guinness World Record Association warns on its website. Be that as it may, it can sometimes be challenging to keep a straight face while scrolling through the list of those broken records.
Here’s our selection of the most impressive, wacko or just plain weird Guinness World Records that the Czech Republic can brag about (they were either achieved in the Czech Republic and/or by Czechs).
THE WEIRD ONES: We’ve talked about it in a previous article, but the Czech Republic boasts the title of the country with the largest beer consumption per capita, with no less than 144.8 litres bought per capita gulped down a few years ago – although beer consumption has been falling in recent years. In other news, Czech citizen Pavel Sin managed to gather the largest collection of axes (590) back in 2015, now displayed in the Konice Regional Museum of Handicrafts. Compatriot Ladislav Sejnoha has no reason to blush either, he who managed to put together the largest collection of bus tickets (200.000 different tickets from 36 countries) in the world.
The most handcuffs escapes in 24 hours is 10.625 and was achieved by Zdenek Bradac at the Liberec Film Club in Liberec (average of 442 escapes per hour) – Versatile M. Bradac also broke a number of other (related or not) Guinness World Record: the fastest time to escape from three handcuffs underwater (in less than 39 seconds), the fastest handcuff escape in 1.66 second, the most handcuff escapes in one hour (627) and the fastest time to arrange a deck of playing cards in the U.K. over ten years ago, in only 36.16 seconds.
The world’s largest wardrobe was created by Jan Bily, and measures over 6 metres high, more than 4 metres wide and 1.5 metres deep. It weighs around 2.000 kilos and can – allegedly – be dismantled into 10 pieces of transportation.
The highest fall survived without parachute was achieved by Yugoslavian-born Vesna Vulovic in 1976 in then-Czechoslovakia. Aged only 23, she survived a fall from more than 10.000 metres (33.333 feet). She emerged from a 27-day coma and 16-month hospital stay with many broken bones. Not a voluntary world record, and all the more impressive.
THE SPORTY ONES: Step aside, Games of Thrones’ dragon-killing Night King: the farthest javelin throw (male) was achieved by Jan Zelezny in Germany in 1996 (98.48 meters) and the farthest javelin throw (female) was also the work of a Czech, Barbora Spotakova in 2008 in Germany (72.28 meters). Meanwhile, the most Quadrathon Federation World Cup wins (5) by a man was achieved by Miroslav Podborsky. In Quadrathon races, athletes compete in disciplines of swim, cycle, run and kayak. A legend among legends, the Czech Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech also broke the record for the most clean sheets in the Premier League by a goalkeeper in 2015.
But that’s not all in the sports section: the fastest run 800 metres (female) was achieved by Jarmila Kratochvilova in Munich in 1983, aged only 32 years old (with an impressive time of 1 minute and 53 seconds) – also good to know, it’s the longest-standing individual record in athletics. The fastest speed on an electric skateboard was achieved by half-Czech, half-Canadian Mischo Erban in Slovenia in 2015, rolling at a speed of 95.83 km/h (59.55 mph) – M. Erban also holds the record for the fastest skateboard speed downhill (standing).
Let’s finish with a rather unfortunate one: the most aces served in a Davis Cup match is 78 by Croatian tennis player Ivo Karlovic… against Czech player Radek Stepanek in 2009.
THE BRAINY ONES: Now for the more artistic achievements: the first TV sci-fi aired in 1938 was an adaptation of R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), a play by Czech writer and playwright Karel Capek – which also, is the world’s first depiction of robots. This world-famous play also achieved another Guinness World Record of the first public reference to robots, with the same play R.U.R. which premiered in Prague in 1921.
Now, for the longest title of a film to win an Oscar for Best Picture: technically, the winner is The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King, the final episode of the world-famous saga, directed by Peter Jackson and released in 2003, with 36 characters. But, if you exclude the title of the trilogy to which it belongs, the record – of 26 characters – is co-held by American movies Around The World in Eighty Days (Oscar for Best Picture 1957) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Oscar for Best Picture 1976), directed by Czech director Milos Forman, one of the leading figures of the Czech New Wave in the 1960’s and much-beloved figure in his home-country up until today.