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František Příhoda passed away

We are saddened to share the news about passing away of a prominent Czech expat living in Australia, Mr. František Příhoda, who passed away on 10 November 2022 at the age of 101. František/Frank was a former Australian alpine skier originally from Czechoslovakia. He participated in the 1956 Winter Olympics.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1921, Frank learned to ski with his sister and Olympic skier, Sasha Nekvapil.  In 1936, Frank began ski racing with the Czechoslovak Ski Federation squad. Also in 1937 when aged 16, his parents died and he took over the family's artificial flower manufacturing business, managing it throughout World War II.

Along with Sasha Nekvapil and her husband Karel, he defected from Czechoslovakia in 1948, when it became a communist country, first travelling to Austria and then to Australia where he settled. There, they started one of the first ski-lodge businesses in Thredbo, New South Wales. In 1950, Frank and his family boarded a ship to emigrate to Australia, skis in tow, arriving in Melbourne, and began working in manufacturing artificial flowers before moving over to the furniture and textile trades.  In 1956, he participated in the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

In 1958, Prihoda became chairman of the race committee of the Victorian Ski Association, before moving to Thredbo to join his family in 1974, where he owned a shop until 2001 at age 80. A year before the closing, in 2000, he carried the Olympic Torch in Thredbo, lighting the cauldron on the Village Green. Prihoda still skied until he became 90 years old.

In 2020, a ski run in Thredbo was named after Prihoda. In 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Jakub Kulhánek, awarded him the Gratias Agit award for promotion of the good name of the Czech Republic abroad.

Interview with František about his life and emigration here.