World javelin record-holder Barbora Spotakova is still hoping to salvage something from the 2020 season and she will make a decision about her future in the autumn.
The postponement of the Olympic Games in Tokyo due to the Covid-19 outbreak has forced athletes across the globe to alter their plans and Spotakova is no exception. Spotakova harboured aspirations of winning her third Olympic title in her fifth Olympic appearance this summer before embarking on the next chapter of her life away from competitive sport.
Spotakova is still motivated to compete in late summer competitions this year as well as the possibility of taking part in the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships as well. A decision on whether to postpone her retirement in order to compete in Tokyo will be taken later in the year.
“I will see in the autumn and I believe the motivation will come. I am optimistic but at the moment there is no right time to decide,” Spotakova told denik.cz in a recent interview. “However, I have a young coach and the cooperation is working very well so it is definitely not a worry that I am looking forward to the end. It is a good cooperation, so I can imagine continuing into the next year.”
After successful collaborations with Rudolf Cerny and Jan Zelezny which yielded Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012 respectively, Spotakova is now working with former international shot putter Jan Tylce. Spotakova reports her off-season which she spent in Lanzarote and at home in the Czech Republic went well and while her main base in Prague has been closed indefinitely, training continues without too much in the way of disruption.
“I have a lot of things to do at home. Dukla [Stadium] is closed but I am in touch with the coach and it works,” she said. “The main preparation for the season has finished so I have no problem training even in these conditions. I train at home and run outdoors in the woods or in the garden.”
Spotakova won back-to-back Olympic titles in 2008 and 2012. She set a still-standing Olympic record of 71.42m in Beijing before breaking the world record with 72.28m in Stuttgart a few weeks later - a mark which looks poised to celebrate its 12th year on the books this September.
Spotakova won three world titles spanning a decade and she completed the set of major javelin titles by winning the European Championships in Zurich in 2014. Spotakova recovered from a broken foot to add an Olympic bronze medal to her collection in 2016 before winning her third world javelin title in London the following year.
The Czech hasn’t reached a major championships podium since then but she can be forgiven for the dearth of silverware over the last few seasons. Spotakova missed the 2018 season to give birth to her second child but a ninth-place finish on her return to international competition at the World Athletics Championships in Doha shows the Czech will still be a factor in Tokyo if she chooses to extend her illustrious career for another year.
While Spotakova dearly wished to compete in Tokyo this year, the Czech was phlegmatic about the postponement.
“For a while, I secretly hoped the Olympics could be postponed until September or October but at this moment there is nothing else to do but postpone for a year. Of course I respect the decision; it seems to me the most sensible. Fear and concern uncertainty about the further development of the situation are global,” she said.
And if Spotakova does postpone her retirement, she could potentially surpass two notable records held by Czech athletes in Tokyo. A fourth medal would surpass the medal haul of her former coach Jan Zelezny and if she was to reach the podium, she would overtake Dana Zatopkova as the event's oldest medallist in Olympic Games history.