In 1862, a highly educated young intellectual, Dr. Miroslav Tyrs (1832-1884) founded Sokol. His goal was to develop physically strong and mentally alert citizens, and to instill in them a deep love for national freedom from volunteer exercise and discipline.
Tyrs was led to the Sokol concepts through his studies of old Greek gymnastics, and from this, developed the Sokol gymnastics system and method which has stood the test of time.
The first Sokol organization formed in the United States was in St. Louis, Missouri in 1865. Within a few years, Sokol Units formed in cities and towns throughout the United States and eventually in many foreign countries.
Gymnastics and calisthenics are the main part of the Sokol physical culture system. Others are volleyball, track and swimming, to name a few. Music, song, dance, drama and literature are also promoted.
SOKOL is an organization dedicated to the physical, mental and cultural advancement of its members, and the children who attend its gymnasiums. It is based upon the theory that only physically fit, mentally alert and culturally well-developed citizens can form a healthy, strong nation.
The Sokol symbol is a Falcon. "Sokol" is the Czech word for Falcon.
Sokols have been prominent in Olympic games for many years. Sokol Omaha sent Phil Cahoy and James Hartung to the 1980 USA team and Hartung competed again in 1984.