The athletic meet

In two hours' time we met again at an athletic meet. A few world champions were there, and people had come from different countries. We were sitting together in the gallery with Zatopek and his wife. In the beginning he was so shy that his wife did most of the talking. It was not that Zatopek was snubbing me, but he would look to this side and that side and sometimes even close his eyes. His wife was absolutely at ease while we were chatting. Zatopek speaks many languages, but his wife seems to speak better English than he does.

During the five thousand-metre run, Zatopek picked a runner that he wanted to be first. He was telling me, "This runner is going to be first." It so happens that that particular runner had written me a letter about a year ago. He had heard about me and congratulated me on something that I had done. I forgot to tell Zatopek that it was the same person. Zatopek was clapping and screaming the runner's name, but that runner didn't come in first. Afterwards, the runner wanted to see me. I went and congratulated and consoled him.

When Zatopek went to give the prizes for the five thousand-metre race, the whole audience cheered him. Everybody in the stadium honoured him like anything.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Salutations, numbers 1-4, Agni Press, 1981
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