Thursday, September 1, 2011

Words From Emil

For years I didn't know a whole lot about Emil Zatopek. I was aware of the fact that he was a hard training Olympic gold medalist who ran with what appeared to be poor running form. I came to discover that he was much more than that simplistic perception. He was a kind,courageous person who was also one of the great runners of this past century. For those who don't know, Emil won 38 consecutive 10,000 meter races,he set 18 world records in distances between the 5k and 30k. He also won 4 Olympic gold medals and one silver. I would be remiss not to mention that at the 1952 Olympics he won gold in the 5k,10k and marathon while setting Olympic records in each of those events. I should ask this,what do you think the chances are of that ever happening again? Oh yes,on that gold in the Olympic marathon,it was his first time racing that distance. When I said Emil was courageous I wasn't only referring to what he did on the track. He spoke out publicly against a repressive Czech government and was condemned and persecuted for doing so. He also had a knack of providing some interesting and provocative quotes.On the line before the start of an Olympic marathon he said this to some of his competitors, "Men, today we die a little." I don't know about any of you but that is something I'd rather not hear before racing a marathon. Emil was well aware of the essence of running when he said: "A runner must run with dreams in his heart,not money in his pocket." So much for being concerned with sponsorship,appearance fees and prizes. On the reality of racing, "It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys." This last quote is one that can apply to life as well as the disappointments we may encounter in our running and racing, "What has passed is already finished with. What I find more interesting is what is still to come." Well said.

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