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ZATOPEK Emil
ZATOPEK Emil

Emil ZÁTOPEK

  • G 4
  • S 1
  • B 0

“The Locomotive”

Emil Zátopek dominated his sport and is the only runner to win the 5,000m, the 10,000m and the marathon at the same Olympic Games. Zátopek had a distinctive running style. He would pant and wheeze and would look visibly shattered during a race. This led to him being nicknamed “The Locomotive”. When asked about his rather inelegant looking style, he replied: “This isn’t gymnastics or ice skating, you know.”

Olympic success

In the 10,000m final at the 1948 London Games, Zátopek lapped all but two runners and won by more than 300m. Three days later, Zátopek ran in the final of the 5,000m. Trailing by 50m at the start of the final lap, he closed the gap with a stunning sprint finish. But he had to settle for silver finishing just 1.5 metres behind the victor, Gaston Etienne Reiff of Belgium.

Even better

Four years later in Helsinki, Zátopek did even better. He won the 10,000m in convincing style and claimed the 5,000m with a brilliant sprint finish. But Zátopek was not finished. He entered the marathon even though he had never run one before and won by two-and-a-half minutes.

Lasting legacy

Emil Zátopek is the only runner to win the 5,000m, the 10,000m and the marathon at the same Olympic Games. He went undefeated in his first 38 races over 10,000m from 1948 through to 1954, and is recognised as one the greatest runners of all time.

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An Olympic legend in the making - Emil Zátopek

In the 10,000m final at the 1948 London Games, Emil Zátopek lapped all but two runners and won by more than 300m. Three days later, Zátopek ran in the final of the 5,000m. Trailing by 50m at the start of the final lap, he closed the gap with a stunning sprint finish. But he had to settle for silver finishing just 1.5 metres behind the victor, Gaston Etienne Reiff of Belgium.

 

Zátopek had a distinctive running style. He would pant and wheeze and would look visibly shattered during a race. This led to him being nicknamed “The Locomotive”. When asked about his rather inelegant looking style, he replied: “This isn’t gymnastics or ice skating, you know.”

 

Emil Zátopek is the only runner to win the 5,000m, the 10,000m and the marathon at the same Olympic Games at Helsinki 1952. He went undefeated in his first 38 races over 10,000m from 1948 through to 1954, and is recognised as one the greatest runners of all time.

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Emil Zátopek (CZH)

Melbourne 1956, Adidas shoe worn by Emil ZÁTOPEK (TCH), three-time Olympic champion in 10000m, 5000m and marathon.

©IOC/Adidas collection
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Emil Zátopek (CZH)

Emil Zátopek during the 5,000m at the 1948 Games in London, chased by Switzerland’s Erik Ahlden, the future Belgian winner, Gaston Reiff, and Dutchman Willem Slijkhuis

©IOC
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Emil Zátopek (CZH)

Emil Zátopek is first to enter the stadium in the marathon at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki

©IOC
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Zatopek And Mimoun

Emil Zatopek (1922 - 2000) of Czechoslovakia (left) is congratulated by Alain Mimoun O'Kacha of France after winning the 5,000 metres at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Mimoun came second. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
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WAAIP087

Helsinki 1952-ZATOPEK Emil (TCH) 1st, ahead of MIMOUN O'KACHA Alain (FRA) 2nd and SCHADE Herbert (GER) 3rd.

Results

  • Games
    Result
    Sport
    Event
  • G 14:06.6
    Athletics
    5000m men
    G 2:23:03.2
    Athletics
    marathon men
    G 29:17.0
    Athletics
    10000m men
  • S 14:17.8
    Athletics
    5000m men
    G 29:59.6
    Athletics
    10000m men

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