What made an Olympic runner legendary?

No hype here. If ever there was a runner deserving of over exposure, Emil Zapotek is that runner. 

Rigney doesn’t know how her father became a friend of Zatopek, but in 1991 when Zatopek was finally allowed to leave Czechoslovakia, he came to Carmel and stayed with her father for a few days. DePetra invited a few local runners and race walkers, including Nellie Wright and Kim Wilkinson.

They were told there would be a special guest for dinner and when they met the great Zatopek they were incredibly honored and surprised. Both commented with virtually the same words, “at almost age 70, he was friendly, energetic, and fiery. … I got goosebumps.”

Zatopek said, “Great is the victory, but the friendship of all is greater.” He died in 2000.

Read their heartwarming story of friendship in the Monterey Herald

Photo copyright by Athletics Ireland. 

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