Spotakova named Czech Athlete of the Year for the sixth time | 11.11.2012
|Czech Athlete of the Year Barbora Spotakova with
Vitezslav Vesely and Zuzana Hejnova at the Czech
Athletics Gala in Prague. (Photo by Czech Athletic
But when that person is an incredible inspiration as well it can be half the battle, so it is no wonder javelin superstar Barbora Spotakova, of the Czech Republic, is celebrating being named her country's athlete of the year for the sixth time in a row.
Her achievements are the reward for retaining the Olympic Games crown in London 2012.
It is the sixth occasion she has won the award, just like the man who trains her, Jan Zelezny, who won it that many times under the guise of the Czech Republic.
Anything he can do...
But equally at these 50th awards, Zelezny was on the main stage too as he was named Coach of the Year for the second time in a row.
And it looks like they are going to be sweeping up the honours for a long time yet.
As Spotakova said: "My coach won three times at the Olympics, so I want to achieve that as well. He is a great idol to have in the Czech Republic."
Zelezny still holds the world record from an amazing Saturday afternoon in the German city of Jena over 16 years ago when he threw a sensational 98.48m. It was prior to the Olympics in Atlanta where he won the second of his three gold medals, keeping hold of the title he had taken in Barcelona and then retaining it four years later in Sydney.
There is little doubt that Zelezny's influence played a part in the career of Spotakova, now 31, who first made the podium at a senior event when she won silver at the European Athletics Championships in Goteborg in 2006.
She won gold at the IAAF World Championships the following year before then throwing 71.42m for gold at the Olympics in Beijing, a month before breaking the world record with an effort of 72.28m.
It was in 2007 when she was honoured with the title of being the Czech Republic's athlete of the year for the first time and she has never looked back.
Under the guidance of Zelezny for the second year, it was gold again in London this summer with a winning throw of 69.55m.
Her win in Britain came with the knowledge of what was happening back home. She said: "What was really difficult, was to cope with all the pressure. In the Czech Republic the pressure was building strongly, because I was the big favourite."
Such is the importance of these awards event that the Czech Athletics' Gala was shown live on national television and Spotakova and Zelezny dominated the voting.
The Czech Athletics Federation's poll is produced from the selections of officials, coaches and media.
Spotakova secured 1518 points from Zuzan Hejnova, the 400m hurdler who won bronze in London with 1306 points and fellow javelin thrower Vitezslav Vesely who was third with 1217 points after his superb year where won the European Athletics Championship gold in Helsinki and was then fourth at the Olympics.
He also won the break-through award after finally landing a major gold medal.
Zelezny earned 112 of the 152 votes for coach of the year, with best junior being Anežka Drahotová, who was sixth at the race walking World Championships in Barcelona.