Emil Zatopek

Sri Chinmoy: I am sure that you know Emil Zatopek.

Mr. Jordan: Emil Zatopek was a very dear friend. In fact, Bob McMillen — one of my top athletes and one of the top people in the 1952 Olympics — was very close to him. McMillen's finishing position in the 1,500 metres is the highest ever by an American. He and Josef Barthel from Luxembourg finished in a virtual dead heat. They couldn't separate the time, so they both got the world record and the Olympic record at that time. Emil Zatopek and his coach were very interested in our training methods and we shared a great deal of information between us because Bob McMillen had done so well. Emil Zatopek was so great! We were all trying to help each other and learn from each other.

Sri Chinmoy: He is so great and yet so humble. Last year my students in Switzerland invited him to start our marathon there and to give the prizes. He and his wife stayed with us for three days.

Mr. Jordan: He is a delightful man and a wonderful person.

Sri Chinmoy: His wife threw the javelin.

Mr. Jordan: Yes, she was a javelin thrower and a very good javelin thrower, too. What Zatopek did in 1952 was unbelievable. The 5,000-metre, 10,000-metre, and marathon were all held in one week. And he won them all! He scared the world. When they saw him running they couldn't believe that a human being could do that. When he came into the tunnel of the stadium, the crowd rose to their feet and cheered and screamed. He came around the track at the end of the marathon, a three-time Olympic victor. A great feat, one of the first times in history that that had ever happened He was a special person, is a special person, just as was Jesse Owens. All talented people have something special about them. Something they say, something they do, something they are, transcends everything around them, and people feel something very special happening in their lives when they are fortunate enough to share part of it with them.