The running revolutionary
Czech athlete Emil Zátopek's extraordinary feats on the running track made him a global superstar. But, as Richard Askwith reveals, Zátopek's political activism set him at loggerheads with his nation's communist authorities
The crowds at Helsinki’s new airport were overwhelming. On 10 July 1952 – nine days before the opening of the XV Olympic Games – some 10,000 people had turned out to welcome the world’s most famous athlete to Finland. But there was a problem: when the Czechoslovak team disembarked their plane, Captain Emil Zátopek was not among them.