On Monday September 19, exactly one hundred years had passed since the birth of Dana and Emil Zátopek. The Olympic champions, world record holders and legends of the world athletics, were commemorated by a number of both traditional and exceptional events. Representatives of the Czech Olympic Committee were for example present at the Running in the Homeland of Emil Zátopek race. The memory of both spouses was honoured in Valašský Slavín , as well as at the headquarters of the Czech Olympic Committee, in front of which a statue of Emil Zátopek is erected.
"They were both amazing. Their motto was: If you’re tired, work harder! They were a well-known couple all over the world," recalls two-time Olympic medallist in rowing Oldřich Svojanovský, President of the Czech Club of Olympians, who knew the Zátopeks well.
At the same time, he is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Dana and Emil Zátopek Foundation and manages their legacy. "Our main goal is to work for the young and to invest in the development of sports activities and facilities," Svojanovský added. "The Zátopek couple promoted and represented our country, and they deserve huge respect. They cannot be forgotten.”
The series of activities in the home regions of Dana and Emil Zátopek were complemented by the Do Sports Like the Zátopeks event, which was prepared by the Czech Athletic Association for the day of the anniversary. Over 10,000 athletes took part in athletics competitions across the whole country, including places closely associated with Dana and Emil Zátopek.
"I'm convinced that both Dana and Emil would be thrilled. They always supported children's sports," said Jiří Kejval, President of the Czech NOC, who remembered the Zátopeks on the anniversary day at the statue of Emil Zátopek in the garden of the Czech NOC’s headquarters. This statue of the four-time Olympic champion is identical to the one that can be found in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. "Dana and Emil were exceptional people and left their mark on the entire sports world. Emil's three gold medals in the long-distance runs within one edition of the Games will never be surpassed. And the performances, charm and personality of Mrs. Dana remain equally unsurpassed," added Kejval.
The Czech Olympic Academy, which is part of the Czech NOC, has also started preparation for an autumn outdoor exhibition about the most famous Czech sports couple.