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Emil Zátopek and Dana Zátopková: Google Doodle celebrates the 100th Birthday of the Czech Olympic athletes

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Emil Zatopek and Dana Zatopkova 100th Birthday Google Doodle

Google Doodle celebrates the 100th Birthday of Emil Zátopek and Dana Zátopková, a Czech long-distance runner most popular for winning three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki and javelin thrower respectively, on September 19, 2022.

Who was Emil Zátopek and Dana Zátopková?

Dana Zátopková was a Czech javelin thrower. She won the gold medal for the javelin at the 1952 Summer Olympics (just an hour after her husband, Emil Zátopek, won the 5,000 m), and the silver medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics. She was the European champion in 1954 and 1958. She likewise set a world record in 1958 (55.73 m) when she was 35, making her the oldest woman to break one in an outdoor athletics event.

Emil Zátopek was a Czech long-distance runner best known for winning three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He won gold in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters runs, however his last award came when he decided at the last minute to contend in the first marathon of his life. He was nicknamed the “Czech Locomotive”.

Both Emil Zátopek and Dana Zátopková were born on September 19, 1922. Dana developed an enthusiasm for sports while she experienced childhood in Karviná, Czech Republic. Before she ever threw a javelin, Dana was a talented handball player and played in college and professionally where she led her team to a Czechoslovakian handball title. The javelin throw soon caught Dana’s attention. Supposedly she arrived at 34 meters whenever she first checked it out. She later became the first Czech woman to throw a javelin more than 40 meters, which qualified her for the 1948 Olympic Games.

Over in Zlín, teenage Emil Zátopek worked at a shoe factory. It was there that he was urged to run in a local race where he completed second out of 100 members! Emil became a private in the Czech army and trained at night by running in his battle boots while pausing his breathing to develop his lung capacity. His legend developed after he rode a bicycle from Prague to Berlin and won the 5,000-meter race in a Partnered Occupation meet.

Emil Zátopek saw Dana Zátopková’s qualifying javelin throw and saluted her for making the Olympics. After holding over their shared birthday, the two formed a relationship. They traveled together to the 1948 Olympic Games in London where Emil won gold in the 10,000-meter race and Dana placed seventh in the javelin throw. Not long after, the couple married.

Dana Zátopková and Emil Zátopek made history at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. Emil won the gold medal in 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters and the long-distance race — his first ever — breaking the Olympic record in each of the three races. Dana not only placed first and set an Olympic record for the javelin throw but became the first Czech woman to win an Olympic gold medal. Because of the couple’s performance that year, Czechoslovakia brought back home more gold medals than any country other than the US.

In 1954, Emil Zátopek was the first runner to break the 29-minute hindrance in the 10,000 meters. Three years sooner in 1951, he had broken the hour for running 20 km. He was viewed as one of the best runners of the 20th century and was likewise known for his severely intense training techniques. He was the originator of interval training and hypoventilation training.

They broke a consolidated 35 world records in a marriage that lasted 52 years. Dana Zátopková got the Olympic Order for recognized contributions to the Olympic movement. The editors at Runner’s World Magazine named Emil the Greatest Runner of All Time.

In February 2013, the editors at Runner’s World Magazine selected him as the Greatest Runner of All Time. He is the only person to win the 5,000 meters (24 July 1952), 10,000 meters (20 July 1952), and Marathon (27 July 1952), in similar Olympic Games.

In the 1952 Olympics, Dana Zatopkova won a gold medal in the women’s javelin throw one hour after her husband, Emil Zapotek won the men’s 5,000-meter run. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the Czech power couple of track and field’s shared 100th Birthday celebration! This Google Doodle was made by Prague-based guest artists Ilona Polanski (illustration) and Aliona Saskova (animation).

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