Emil Zatopek

Emil Zatopek was a legendary Czech runner and one of the most talented runners of the 20th Century. Emil ran the 5,000 meter, the 10,000 meter, and the marathon at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki and won setting Olympic records in all three of the events. He was the first man to sprint a 10k under 29 minutes and the first to run 20k in one hour.

Emil Zatopek was born in Koprivnice, Czechoslovakia on September 19, 1922 and he was 26 when he made his Olympic debut at the 1948 London Games winning the 10,000 meter race without hardly any experience.

He raced extremely hard and used his whole body including numerous painstaking, exhausted expressions to achieve victory. Also, people who watched him thought he was made of steel. Emil was known as "The Czech Locomotive", the "Bouncing Czech" or the "Beast of Prague." He set 18 world records at races of different distances and won five Olympic medals.  Emil Zatopek is honored with revolutionalizing training and running. He constructed intense interval workouts that have become the standard today.

Czech President Vaclav Havel gave Emil the Order of the White Lion award in 1998, which was a national honor.

Emil Zatopek died November 22, 2000 at age 78 after being placed in Prague Military Hospital following a stroke on October 30. The funeral was attended by thousands to mourn and remember Czech's most amazing athlete.

Emil Zatopek Quotes

"To boast a performance which I cannot beat is merely stupid vanity. And if I can beat it that means there is nothing special about it."


"When I was young, I was too slow. I thought I must learn to run fast by practicing to run fast,  so I ran 100 meters fast 20 times. Then I came back  slow, slow, slow. People said, "Emil you are crazy. You are training like a sprinter."


"Everyone said, "Emil you are a fool!" But when I first won the European Championship, they said "Emil, you are a genius!"


"A runner must run with dreams in his heart, not money in his pocket."


"What has passed is already finished with. What I find more interesting is what is still to come."


 Emil Zatopek 1952 Marathon Video

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