Free Download Today We Die a Little!: The Inimitable Emil Zátopek, the Greatest Olympic Runner of All Time

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For a decade after the Second World War, Emil Zátopek—”the Czech Locomotive”—redefined his sport, pushing back the frontiers of what was considered possible in terms of training, record-setting, and medal winning. He won five Olympic medals, set 18 world records, and went undefeated over 10,000 metres for six years. His dominance has never been equaled. And in the darkest days of the Cold War, he stood for a spirit of generous friendship that transcended nationality and politics. Zátopek was an energetic supporter of the Prague Spring in 1968, championing “socialism with a human face” in Czechoslovakia.

But for this he paid a high price. After the uprising was crushed by Soviet tanks, the hardline Communists had their revenge. Zátopek was expelled from the army, stripped of his role in national sport, and condemned to years of hard and degrading manual labor: cleaning toilets in a uranium mine. Only the protests of the sporting world saved him from a worse fate. By the

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