Full Name: Emil Zatopek
Date of Birth: 19 th September, 1922
Died on: 22 nd November, 2000
Country: Czech Republic
Sport involved in: Athletics
Gold medalist in the 10000 meter event at the 1948 London Summer Games
Winner of silver medal in the 5000 meter event in the 1948 London Summer Games
Winner of gold medals in the 5000 meter, 10000 meter and the marathon events in the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games
Received the Pierre de Coubertin medal posthumously in 2000
Career: Emil Zatopek started his international athletic career in 1948, when he participated in the 1948 London Summer Games . In the Games, Zatopek won one gold medal and one silver medal in the long distance running events. Next year, Zatopek broke the world record in the 10000 meter event twice. He competed in the 1950 European Championships. There he won gold medals in the 5000 meter and 10000 meter events. In the next European Championships, Zatopek won the 10000 meter event. In 1951, he set a new world record in the 20 kilometer event and the one hour-run twice. In 1952, he broke the world records in the 25 kilometer and 30 kilometer events. That year he participated in the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games . This time he not only defended his Olympic title in the 10000 meter event, but also won two more gold medals in the 5000 meter event and the marathon. In 1954, Zatopek broke the 5000 meter world record. The same year, he also broke the 29 minute time barrier in the 10000 meter event. Next year, Zatopek set a new world record in the 25 kilometer event improving his world record made in 1952. Zatopek decided to compete in the marathon race in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. He had an operation two weeks before the competition. However, he competed in the event and finished sixth. Following the next season, Zatopek retired from the sport. The great athlete died on 22 nd November in 2000.
Performance at the Olympics: Emil Zatopek's first appearance at the Olympics was in the 1948 London Summer Games . In the Games, he won one gold medal in the 10000 meter event. In the tenth lap of the race, he took the lead. Finally he won his first Olympic title defeating Alain Mimoun of France by more than 300 meter. In the final of the 5000 meter event, Zatopek finished second behind Gaston Reiff of Belgium and won his second Olympic medal—a silver one in the event. Reiff beat Zatopek by only 1 ½ meter. In his next appearance in the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games , Zatopek started the competition by winning the 10000 meter event. In the event, he again defeated Alain Mimoun by 100 meter. In the 5000 meter event, he again beat Alain Mimoun, and won his second gold medal in the competition. Zatopek won the event only by five meter. In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Zatopek competed in the marathon race for the first time. He won the Olympic marathon title only by 2½ meter. With his achievements in the 1952 Games, he became the only athlete to win the 5000 meter, 10000 meter and the marathon events at the same Olympics. In the last Olympics of his career, in the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games, Zatopek finished sixth in the marathon competition.