Three Olympic medals, four rare metals from the World Championships and four from the European Championships. This is how the highly successful career of one of the best Czech female athletes of all time could be described in a nutshell.
Spear thrower Barbora Špotáková was the guest of Pám se me.
Two decades, during which the Jablonec native was named athlete of the year nine times. After all, that’s another record. She also surpassed her former coach, Jan Železný, and ball player Helena Fibingerová. Both stood on the imaginary podium seven times.
Barbora Špotáková is also the mother of two children, after whose birth she was able to return to the stadiums and win again. Oh, and also the fourth sister from her favorite band’s song. Song was dedicated to her by Three Sisters frontman Lou Fanánek Hagen after a phenomenal throw at the Beijing Olympics. There, at the sixth attempt, she defeated her great rival of Russia, Maria Abakumova.
What did she fight the most during her sports career? And what, on the other hand, makes her the happiest?
Watch the interview in the introductory video, or listen to it in your favorite podcast app this afternoon.
What was said in the conversation?
1:00 Have you come to terms with the fact that you have ended your career? – I’ve already felt it for the last year, that it was really enough. And my body was telling me. It was after the great success in Munich, so it was such a logical outcome. And a huge relief came. I still do sports for joy and I believe that also for the joy of others. That’s the wonderful feeling that I don’t have to, but I can.
2:20 I knew it would be a real pain. And it would be difficult for me to achieve any great success. Even in Munich, I was lucky that it wasn’t thrown that far. When I see prey, I go after it. And the medal was low, so I decided not to let it go. There were many friends, my children. I thought I had to show them how to fight for a medal. And it succeeded. He had everything that night. Then I wanted to quit right away, but my manager convinced me to finish the Diamond League. I made it to the finals in Zurich, but there the body was already on strike. I didn’t like it there. But on the other hand, which of the Czech athletes made it to the Diamond League?
4:30 Did you like it in front of a big audience? – That gave me a boost. The World Championship, the European Championship… What helped me the most was that the Czech fans went there, that I knew my fans were there. And when my partner Lukáš was there, my mascot. Where he was, I thrived. That’s why it was unacceptable for me to finish after Tokyo in 2020. In my opinion, that’s not a race… I guess it’s a good thing that the Olympics were, but I freeze completely when I remember. And I tell myself that I don’t want to experience it anymore. In Munich suddenly there was an island of freedom and nothing was solved, the atmosphere there was amazing, I can just feel this. – Will you miss it? – I think yes. It’s really addictive.
7:20 At the 2008 Olympics, you won a medal in an exceptional way only on the sixth attempt. It was August 21, you commented on it, you won over the Russian representative. Are these symbols important to you? – It always works out for me somehow. We thought about it and thought: It would be better if there was a strong Russia there for that anniversary. Then there was such a unique moment when the opponents cheered for me against her. Even the German women who didn’t shake my hand when I beat them the year before were cheering for me. I guess they felt that they were the only ones who could beat her. A miracle happened there, I am convinced of that to this day.
9:00 We looked at each other in the dressing room, because she couldn’t throw 60 meters at the end of June, and after two months a completely different person appeared here. – So you weren’t even surprised when the scandal came to light that Russian athletics was affected by doping from the highest structures? – It wasn’t surprising, we all kind of suspected it, it seemed obvious to us. We never vented it because we often got it back even from the public that we were making excuses. So we went over it. But it surprised me with some Russian sportswomen, it was not so obvious there.
13:00 Is doping still a big problem? – People will always try to gain an advantage in some unfair way. So it probably cannot be eradicated. But it is probably in a better state than it was at the turn of the millennium. – Has anyone ever offered it to you? – They once offered me that my stress fracture could heal faster. I said I don’t want to. But I’ve had quite a few fractures in my life, so I believed that it would heal within a month. It was still when I was a junior, and I didn’t believe that athletics could support me. I did it on the side at school, I didn’t believe I would be good.
15:30 (regarding the Olympics in Beijing and the situation in China) I mentioned it in some interview before the Olympics, then I cooled down a bit. It was diplomatically explained to me that it was not even good for the performance itself. When a person deals with this, he actually takes away energy from his own performance. And in the end, it is better to win the Olympics than not to win it. I didn’t do anything, but at least I mentioned it.
17:41 Do you think that athletes should draw attention to violations of human rights, such as now in connection with the football championship in Qatar? – I think it’s good that it’s being pointed out. And that it’s there now, because the debate is much more visible. Normally we probably don’t care about Qatar and now everyone is dealing with it. I hope this can make a difference. There is nothing in the world stronger than football, where athletics digs in.
19:40 Do you have any plans for the future? – I am most devoted to children. I train myself, I train the children. Maybe I’m looking for some talent that I would train myself. I’ll see what the universe sends me. I’m still waiting.