Past Athletes

Personal Data

Surname: ZeleznyFirstname: JanCountry: Czech RepublicDate of birth: 1966-06-16Birthplace : Mlada Boleslav (Czechoslovakia)Height: 185 cmWeight: 86.0 kg

Career Data

Discipline: javelin throwWorld records: 4Olympic Games (4 medals - 3 gold, 1 silver)World Championships (5 medals - 3 gold, 2 bronze)European Championships (2 medals - 2 bronze)
  • 1st (1992, 1996, 2000), 2nd (1988)
  • 1st (1993, 1995, 2001), 3rd (1987, 1999)
  • 3rd (1994, 2006)

Biography

A legend in the makingWinning return

The great javelin thrower Jan Zelezny picked up his third Olympic title in Sydney, and can also count a trio of world titles and the world record to his impressive list of honours during a fabulous career.

The robust Czech (1.85m/86kg) with the timid smile registered his first major victory in 1992, at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, and had Athens 2004 in sight and a potential fourth title.

However, despite throwing the third best mark of the year going into the Games, he finished modestly in ninth, well behind champion Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway.

He became a member or the athletes' commission of the IOC following Sydney but resigned in his efforts to be ready for the javelin event in Greece.

Now, with his career over, he has the opportunity to return to a position within the IOC and has also applied for the post of president of the Czech Olympic Committee.

His first Olympic win in 1992 Games was sweet revenge on the IAAF which had, a few weeks previously, refused to sanction his new world record because the javelin used was non-regulation.

His triumph in Catalonia was perhaps one of the most important in a long line of victories registered between 1991 and 2000: 98 in 125 competitions for the man who, on the field, had become practically untouchable.

After collecting a series of medals and titles, Zelezny reached the pinnacle of success on May 25, 1996 in Germany when he took the world record to an astounding 98.48m, a distance which incessantly provides amazement for his adversaries.

The euphoria from that record continued until the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where Zelezny collected his second consecutive gold. The following season in 1997 proved mediocre however, and he could only manage ninth place in the world championships at Athens.

Tired from the rigours of competition, Zelezny had trouble finding his Olympic form, and a right shoulder injury sustained during training in April 1998 only complicated matters.

But he used that adversity positively, avoiding the stadium for a season and spending time with his family, wife Marta and their two children, Katarina and Jan.

In 1999, shortly after his return to competition, he took bronze at the world championships in Seville and, in March 2000, once more threw beyond the 90-metre mark.

At Sydney, his hard work paid off again, as he out-distanced Britain's Steve Backley and Russian Sergei Makorov to win his third straight Olympic gold.

He won a bronze medal as late as 2006 at the European Championships though the 2001 world championship title was his last major achievement.

His motto of "work and sacrifice" served him well during what will go down as one of the finest sporting careers in track and field.


Photos

Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic (C) is all smiles as he diplays his gold medal during the medal ceremony 23 September, 2000 at the Sydney Olympic Games after winning the men's Olympic javelin throw competition in Sydney 23 September 2000. Zelezny made history with his third consecutive Olympic gold medal with a 90.17m throw. Brit Steve Backley (R) won silver with 89.85m and Makarov of Russia won bronze with 88.67m. AFP PHOTO/Olivier MORINJan Zelezny of the Czech Republic throws the javelin during the final of the men's Olympic javelin throw competition in Sydney 23 September 2000. Zelezny made history with his third consecutive Olympic gold medal with a 90.17m throw.    AFP PHOTO/Eric FEFERBERGJan Zelezny of the Czech Republic prepares to throw his javelin in the men's javelin final at the 8th World Championships in Athletics 12 August 2001 in Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Canada. Zelezny won the gold medal in the event for a throw of 92.80.   AFP PHOTO/Don EMMERTCzech Jan Zelezny competes during the Men's javelin qualifying round at the 19th European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, 07 August 2006. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
PHOTOS & VIDEOS
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POSCOUNTRYGOLDSILVERBRONZETOTAL
1United States462929104
2China38272388
3Great Britain29171965
4Russia24263282
5South Korea138728
6Germany11191444
7France11111234
8Italy891128
9Hungary84517
10Australia7161235

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