The XXXII Summer Olympic Games are approaching fast. After being postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the XXXII Summer Olympic Games will take place from 23 July to 8 August in Tokyo, Japan. The Czech Republic national team won’t be absent at the SOG this year, either. Who will win gold, silver and bronze medals this year is in the stars for the time being, but today we’ll have a look back into the past to acquaint you with the most famous Czech Olympians from the summer edition of the games and their achievements.
Emil Zátopek (19 September 1922 – 22 November 2000)SOG 1948, 1952, 1956
Emil Zátopek, a native of the Moravian town of Kopřivnice, was a Czechoslovak athlete and four-time Olympic winner in long-distance running. Zátopek became the first man in the world to run 10,000 metres in less than 29 minutes and 20 km in less than an hour. In the meantime, however, he became a legend at the Olympics in Helsinki (1952), where he won the gold medal for the 5,000 m and 10,000 m runs and in the marathon. What’s more, he broke the Olympic records in all of the three events. He won his third gold medal, when he had decided to take part in the marathon, too. He ran it for the first time in his life and he won.
Věra Čáslavská (3 May 1942 – 30 August 2016)SOG 1964 and 1968
The native of Prague was an artistic gymnast, who took part in two summer Olympic games. In Tokyo (1964), she won the gold medal in the individual all-around, for the vault, and for the balance beam. In 1968 she took part in the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico and won gold for the all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise as well as silver for the balance beam and in teams. She ended her sports career at those Olympics. She was named the world’s best sportsperson in the same year.
Jan Železný (16 June 1966)SOG 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004
Jan was born in Central Bohemia in Mladá Boleslav. He is considered the best javelin thrower of the modern era. He is a holder of three Olympic gold medals (1992, 1996, 2000) and one silver medal (1988). Since new rules were introduced, 84 javelin throws have surpassed 90 metres. Fifty-two of these 84 throws were by Jan Železný. He was named both the Athlete of the World and the Athlete of Europe. He is the only man to have thrown over 95 metres. No one else has achieved that so far since the centre of gravity of the javelin was changed.
Martin Doktor (21 May 1974)SOG 1996, 2000, 2004
Canoeist Martin Doktor was born in Polička in eastern Bohemia. The greatest achievement of his career was winning two gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta (1996), where he won the individual races in both 1,000 metres and 500 metres.
Štěpánka Hilgertová (10 April 1968)SOG 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012
The native of Prague won gold medals at the SOG in 1996 and in 2000. She does canoeing, specifically canoe slalom. She’s already ended her active career but she is still involved in canoeing, now as a coach.
Roman Šebrle (26 November 1974)SOG 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012
Roman was born in the eastern Bohemian town of Lanškroun and took part in combined events. In decathlon he was the first man to surpass the mythical 9,000-point barrier based on the current scoring tablets. With his performance of 9,026 points, he established a world record in 2001, which wasn’t broken for a further eleven years. In decathlon he won gold at the SOG in Athens (2004) and silver at the SOG in Sydney (2000).
Barbora Špotáková (30 June 1981)SOG 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016
Barbora was born in Jablonec nad Nisou near Liberec but she grew up in Prague. She is a Czech javelin thrower. She holds a world record in javelin throw in the women’s category with 72.28 metres. She won gold in javelin throw in Beijing (2008) and in London (2012), and bronze in Rio (2016).
Lukáš Krpálek (15 November 1990)SOG 2012, 2016
Lukáš was born in Jihlava in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. He’s been doing judo since his childhood. He won the gold medal in judo in half-heavyweight at the last SOG in Rio de Janeiro (2016).