In 1993 Josef Odložil died from the after-effects of a malicious attack. His relatives, friends, charges, and fans decided to organize a meet in his honour that carried his name.
The Josef Odložil Memorial, an international athletic meet, is one of Europe’s premier athletic events. It also reminds new generations that Josef Odložil is still only one of two Czech runners in history, besides Emil Zátopek, to win an Olympic medal. This year it is 51 years since Josef broke the 2000m world record. It is a record that to this day stands as the Czech national record (earlier Czechoslovakian) record.
Over the years more than 500 various Olympic, world championship, European championship and other continents’ championship medalists and more than 50 world record holders have competed in the Josef Odložil Memorial.
Some of the meets in the most prestigious Diamond League do not have such meet records as we do. All we need to do is remind ourselves of some of these. Javelin, Jan Železný, 90.56 m: this effort was not bettered for a number of years. Koji Murofushi, 84.86 in the hammer throw: both these efforts are amongst the world’s best. Sileshi Sihine in the 10 km walk, with a time of 26:57,27, is one of the best results of all time. The legendary long jumper Ivan Pedroso holds the meet record of 860 cm; of the women, Barbora Špotáková threw her javelin for a record 68.81 m.
The Josef Odložil Memorial is an event that promotes not only Prague but the Czech Republic as a whole as it is annually broadcasted to more than 50 countries.
It gives me great pleasure to have partners not only such as the Czech Athletic Federation, the City of Prague, whose mayor has annually over the past decade been a patron of the student races, but to also have the best sports club not only in the country, but in Europe, and perhaps the world, ASC Dukla Praha, in whose colors have represented dozens of Olympic medalists in all different types of sporting disciplines. Another distinguished partner is the Czech Olympic Committee.
Thank you to all our partners that assist us financially. Without your help it would be very difficult indeed to have this event so highly rated amongst world athletic meets.
My thanks also goes to all the members of the organizing team, friends, charges and family members that for many years have worked all year round to prepare such a fantastic event.
I hope that this year we will get a big crowd to come and cheer for Jakub Holuša and his attempt to break the national record in Odložil’s discipline, the 1500m; to help Barbora Špotáková break the 60 metere barrier after coming back from injury; to spur on Pavel Maslák’s attempt to break the 45 second barrier in the 400 m, and to support all our other fantastic representatives to reach the best results possible and meet their Olympic qualifying limits.