Emil Zatopek's timing has been bettered by present-day runners, but this in no way eclipses his supreme achievements. Zatopek's achievements were the foundation stones of today's unique achievements. How can there be any edifice if there is no solid foundation? The foundation makes its unique contribution.

When the immortal Czech was invited to be the Grand Marshal of the tenth annual New York City Marathon — the biggest marathon in the world — the New York Road Runners Club explained its choice: "We wanted someone for Grand Marshal who would conform to the highest standards of any athlete — in any sport, in any time. Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia is such a man."