Dana Zátopková, gold medal Olympic champion, dies at 97

The 1952 Olympic javelin gold medal champion and wife of four-time Olympic champion Emil Zatopek, died aged 97, the Czech Olympic Committee said.

Former Czech Olympic javelin champion Dana Zátopková | Photo courtesy of Czech Olympic Committee

Zátopková was a double Olympic medallist in javelin throw and a two-time European champion. In 1958, she set the world record at the age of 35, making her the oldest woman to break one in an outdoor athletics event.

She competed in 1948, 1952, 1956 and 1960 Summer Olympics. She became the European champion in 1954 and 1958.

She died early morning on Friday 13th March 2020 at the Military University Hospital in Prague.

“Dana was a great personality and we are going to miss her a lot. She was a very intelligent, entertaining and smart lady and a true friend. There are no words to describe how much we will all miss her. She will never be forgotten,” Oldřich Svojanovský, president of the Czech Club of Olympians, said in a statement.

Zátopková was born on 19 September 1922. She won the gold medal for javelin in the 1952 Summer Olympics and the silver medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics.

She was married to Emil Zátopek, Czechoslovak long-distance runner, best known for winning three gold medals.

Zátopek died on 22 November 2000.