Emil Zatopek is considered as the greatest long-distance runners of all time. He is the only person to win the 5,000m, 10,000m and Marathon in the same Olympics. He is the first person to break the 29 min barrier in the 10 km. He has also broken the 1-hour mark for the 20 km. In 2013, Runner’s World Magazine selected Zatopek as the ‘Greatest Runner of All Time’. He has been nicknamed ‘Czech Locomotive’ by his followers in his home country Czechoslovakia. He has won 4 Gold medals and 1 Silver medal from the 1948 London Olympics and the 1958 Helsinki Olympics.
Emil Zatopek was born on September 19, 1922 at Koprivnice, Czechoslovakia. He was born in poor family and had to start working at the age of 16 to add to his family income. He was the sixth child in his family. His first job was at a Bata shoe factory in Zlin. This is where his running career began. One day the factory’s sports coach asked him and three others to run in a 1,500m race. He refused to run giving the excuse that he was unfit and weak. After an examination with the doctor, he was given a ‘No Ailment Certificate’. Now Zatopek was forced to run, and he impressed by coming second in the race.