"Ron Clarke, athlete - obituary"

"Although he never won one himself, one of his most treasured possessions was an Olympic gold medal given to him in 1968 by the Czech athlete Emil Zatopek, a four-time gold medal winner, with the words: "Look after this. You deserve it." The medal was for the 1952 10,000 metres."

"Zátopek's running style was distinctive and very much at odds with what was considered to be an efficient style at the time. His head would often roll, face contorted with effort, while his torso swung from side to side. He often wheezed and panted audibly while running, which earned him the nicknames of "Emil the Terrible" or the "Czech Locomotive". When asked about his tortured facial expressions, Zátopek is said to have replied that "It isn't gymnastics or figure skating, you know." In addition he would train in any weather, including snow, and would often do so while wearing heavy work boots as opposed to special running shoes. He was always willing to give advice to other runners. One example he often gave was always to be relaxed and to help ensure that while running, gently touch the tip of your thumb with the tip of your index or middle finger. Just making that slight contact would ensure that arms and shoulders remained relaxed."

John Floyd writes: 

There are quite a few parallels to life, trading, and chivalry here…..be your own man, value of hard work, stretching for the limits, tenacity, gifts to those believed deserving with mutual benefit, shared comradery in an individual sport, timing of being in the right place at right time…


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