Emil Zátopek

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameEmil Ferdinand•Zátopek
Used nameEmil•Zátopek
Born19 September 1922 in Kopřivnice, Moravskoslezský kraj (CZE)
Died21 November 2000 in Praha (Prague), Hlavní město Praha (CZE)
Measurements182 cm / 72 kg
AffiliationsTJ Gottwaldov, Zlín (CZE) / ASC Dukla, Praha (CZE)
NOC Czechoslovakia
Nationality Czechia
Medals OG
Gold 4
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 5


Emil Zátopek of Czechoslovakia was a supreme distance runner whose rugged training regimen was rewarded with unprecedented success. At the 1948 Olympics he won the gold medal in the 10,000 metres and finished second in the 5,000 metres. At Helsinki in 1952 he produced one of the greatest performances in distance running history, when he won the 5,000 metres, successfully defended his 10,000 metres title, and then took his third gold medal in his first-ever marathon race to complete a “triple” that remains unique in Olympic history. Zátopek closed his Olympic career four years later when he placed 6th in the marathon in Melbourne, running only a few weeks after undergoing hernia surgery.

At the European Championships he finished fifth in the 5,000 metres (1946) and won gold in the 5,000 metres (1950) and 10,000 metres (1950, 1954) and bronze in the 5,000 metres (1954). Between 1949 and 1954, he set 18 world records at every distance from 5,000 metres to 30,000 metres, a remarkable display of versatility at the very highest level. He was the first great distance runner to popularize the concept of interval training and his training efforts were legendary. His wife, Dana (né Ingrová), was the Olympic gold medalist in the javelin in 1952.

Personal Bests: 5000 – 13:57.0 (1954); 10000 – 28:54.2 (1954); Mar – 2-23:04 (1952).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1948 Summer Olympics Athletics TCH CZE Emil Zátopek
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1952 Summer Olympics Athletics TCH CZE Emil Zátopek
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
Marathon, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1956 Summer Olympics Athletics TCH CZE Emil Zátopek
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS
Marathon, Men (Olympic) 6

Olympic family relations

Special Notes