The story of the czechoslovak long-distance runner Emil Zatopek, better known as “The Human Locomotive“.
At the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Zátopek won gold in the 5,000 m, 10,000 m, and the marathon, breaking Olympic records in each event. Zátopek is the only person to win these three long distance events in the same Olympic games. His victory in the 5,000 m came after a ferocious last lap in 57.5 seconds, during which he went from fourth place to first in the final turn. Zátopek’s final medal came when he decided at the last minute to compete in the marathon for the first time in his life. His strategy for the marathon was simple: he raced alongside Jim Peters, the British world-record holder. After a punishing first fifteen kilometres in which Peters knew he had overtaxed himself, Zátopek asked the Englishman what he thought of the race thus far. The astonished Peters told the Czech that the pace was “too slow,” in an attempt to slip up Zátopek, at which point Zátopek simply accelerated. Peters did not finish, while Zátopek won the race and set an Olympic record. He is also known to have won the “Pierre de Coubertin” medal, a special decoration awarded by the International Olympic Committee to those athletes, former athletes, sports promoters, sporting officials and others who exemplify the spirit of sportsmanship in Olympic events or through exceptional service to the Olympic movement.
We want to leave you with one of his famous quotes: “An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.”