Biography of Famous Olympic Track and Field Athlete Mildred Emil Zatopek

About the biography of the famous olympic track and field athlete Emil Zatopek, history and information.

Emil Zatopek

He trained so hard that competition itself became a lark. He slogged along for miles through the rain in heavy soldier's boots; he increased his distance gradually until he was running more than 13 mi. a day. He pushed his body beyond its limits and continued to push. He turned into a running machine.

Emil Zatopek was born in 1922 in Northern Moravia, a part of Czechoslovakia. He began a running career in 1941 that brought him 18 world records, the last set in 1955. He was almost unbeatable at 10,000-m. but during his career he mastered every distance from 800-m. up to the marathon.

His achievements are legend. From 1948 to 1954, he was undefeated in 38 races over 10,000-m. Between 1949 and 1955, he set 18 world records between 5000-m. and 30,000-m. Zatopek was the 1st man to run more than 20 km. in an hour--he ran 12 mi., 810 yds. in 1951--and he was a 4-time Olympic champion and 3-time European champion in the 5000-m., 10,000-m., and marathon.

His greatest triumph may have been in the '52 Helsinki Olympics. He proved himself superior to the great Finns Kolehmainen and Nurmi when he breezed to victory in the 5000-m. (14:06.6), 10,000-m. (29:17.0), and then went on to take the marathon.

The final lap of the 5000-m. was a chiller. Four men fought for the lead. Zatopek was challenged in the backstretch by the Englishman Chris Chataway. Around the final bend, Zatopek ran with furious intensity, almost as if his life depended on winning. The unfortunate Chataway tripped and fell but Emil still had to run the bell lap in 58.1 to stave off Alain Mimoun of France.

Some of Zatopek's world marks: 5000-m. (13:57.2), 10,000-m. (28:54.2), 20,000-m. (59:51.6), 25,000-m. (1 hr. 16:36.4), 30,000-m. (1 hr. 35:23.8), 6 mi. (27:59.2), 10 mi. (48:12.0), 15 mi. (1 hr. 14:01.0).

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