Blogtober Day 12: Emil Zatopek

This is this little blog's 150th post! Hooray! Another pretty momentous occasion, so we'll celebrate with another pretty momentous athlete.

If there's one runner whose name you know, it should be Emil Zatopek.

Emil is known as the Czech Locomotive, and for good reason. He was breaking Czechoslovakian records as early as 1944 but, y'know, there were no Olympics that year for war reasons. At the London Olympics in 1948, he won gold in the 10,000m (only his second race ever in that event) and silver in the 5,000m. The next year, he broke the 10,000m world record twice and set multiple records in the 5,000m, 20,000m, one-hour run (because apparently that was a thing?), 25,000m and 30,000m. He won gold at the 1950 European Championships in the 5,000m and 10,000m.

But the coolest thing Emil did was at the 1952 Olympics, where he won three gold medals. His first two came in the 5,000m and 10,000m, in which he broke both Olympic records and, in the 5,000m, went from fourth to first in the final lap. His final medal came in the marathon, which he decided to compete in at the last minute... and it was the first marathon of his life. And he broke the Olympic record. HOW?

In 2013, the editors at Runner's World Magazine named Emil the Greatest Runner of All Time. So, uh, there's that.

As if you needed another reason to care, Emil happened to also be an awesome guy. He spoke six languages and was incredibly outgoing and friendly, which meant he was constantly hosting foreign athletes that he'd befriended at competitions at his home. In 1968, Australian runner Ron Clarke came to stay. Emil knew that Clarke admired him and, though he held numerous records, always fell short of winning an Olympic gold medal. After the visit, Emil gave Clarke the gold medal he won in the 10,000m in Helsinki 1952.

That right there, my friends, is a quality human being.

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(I'm trying out a signature for the first time! What do we think of it? The peace-love-Olympics idea came from my friend Ingrid, who's thinking about starting her own blog. :D So consider this me publicly telling her to get on it!)