"Great is the victory, but the friendship of all is greater."
"To boast of a performance which I cannot beat is merely stupid vanity. And if I can beat it that means there is nothing special about it. What has passed is already finished with. What I find more interesting is what is still to come."
"When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem."
"We forget our bodies to the benefit of mechanical leisure. We act continuously with our brain, but we no longer use our bodies, our limbs. It is the Africans who possess this vitality, this muscular youth, this thirst for physical action which we are lacking. We have a magnificent motor at our disposal, but we no longer know how to use it."
"There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions. It is better to train under bad conditions, for the difference is then a tremendous relief in a race."
"What has passed is already finished with.
What I find more interesting is what is still to come."
"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."
"If you want to win a race try the 100 meter. If you want to win an experience try the marathon."
"If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon."
Emil Zatopek (See Running Times)
"A runner must run with dreams in his heart, not money in his pocket."
"You can't climb up to the second floor without a ladder....When you set your aim too high and don't fulfill it, then your enthusiasm turns to bitterness. Try for a goal that's reasonable, and then gradually raise it."
"It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys."
"After all those dark days of the war, the bombing, the killing, the starvation, the revival of the Olympics was as if the sun had come out....I went into the Olympic Village and suddenly there were no more frontiers, no more barriers. Just the people meeting together. It was wonderfully warm. Men and women who had just lost five years of life were back again."
Emil Zatopek, about the 1948 London Olympics
"Men, today we die a little."
Emil Zatopek at the start of the Olympic Marathon
"I was unable to walk for a whole week after that, so much did the race take out of me. But it was the most pleasant exhaustion I have ever known."
Emil Zatopek describes his marathon win at the Helsinki Olympics
"If you come to think of it, you never see deer, dogs and rabbits worrying about their menus and yet they run much faster than humans."
When asked about his tortured expression during races, Emil Zatopek said, "It is not gymnastics or ice skating you know."
"When I was young, I was too slow. I thought I must learn to run fast by practicing to run fast, so I ran 100 meters fast 20 times. Then I came back, slow,slow,slow. People said, 'Emil, you are crazy. You are training like a sprinter.'"
"Why should I practice running slow? I already know how to run slow. I want to learn to run fast. Everyone said, 'Emil, you are a fool!' But when I first won the European Championship, they said: 'Emil, you are a genius!'"
Emil Zatopek on Interval Training
Runner's World Daily: How do you compare the modern runner with yourself?
Emil Zatopek: The athlete of today is not an athlete alone. He's the center of a team--doctors, scientists, coaches, agents and so on. My running was very simple; it was out of myself. Perhaps sometimes I was like a mad dog. It didn't matter about style or what it looked like to others; there were records to break. Two months before the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, the doctors said I must not compete. I had a gland infection in my neck. Well I didn't listen and what happened? Three golds. The sportsman, the real sportsman, knows what is inside him. Haile Gebrselassie impresses me very much. He seems to run from within himself.
"If one can stick to the training throughout the many long years, then will power is no longer a problem. It's raining? That doesn't matter. I am tired? That's besides the point. It's simply that I just have to."
"He does everything wrong but win."
Larry Snyder, Ohio State track coach, about Emil Zatopek's contorted style of running