Saturday, September 19 is the 98th anniversary of the birth of Emil Zátopek – and, coincidentally that of his wife, Dana Zátopková who only died a few weeks ago. Emil died in 2000. As you will doubtless know, the couple won Olympic gold medals within a half an hour of each other, Emil in the 5000 metres, Dana in the javelin, at the Helsinki Olympic Games 1952. But Emil also won the 10,000 metres and the marathon in Helsinki, the only person ever likely to achieve such a treble at an Olympic Games.
The accompanying poster was created by RunCzech, the organisers of the Prague Marathon (among other national events), of which Dana and Emil were patrons.
As the great Aussie runner, Ron Clarke once said, ‘I’ve never met anyone like Emil Zátopek, I’ll repeat it a thousand times… Zata was someone who was absolutely and completely special in his influence… He talked to everybody, helped everybody. He trained everybody, gave them training secrets. What’s training secrets? You have to train, what’s the big deal? He would help anybody… I can’t say enough. He was an enthusiast. I believe he was the biggest driving force and influence that athletics has ever seen’.
Given that encomium from the man who, like Zátopek broke close to a score of world long distance records, the poster is hardly an exaggeration.
I still have some copies of QUICKSILVER, my bio of Emil Zátopek. You can buy at 40% reduction price of £10 incl postage in the UK, and $20, again including postage elsewhere in the world.