The Most Famous

ATHLETES from Czechia

Icon of occuation in country

This page contains a list of the greatest Czech Athletes. The pantheon dataset contains 6,025 Athletes, 58 of which were born in Czechia. This makes Czechia the birth place of the 20th most number of Athletes behind Japan, and Netherlands.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Czech Athletes of all time. This list of famous Czech Athletes is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Czech Athletes.

Photo of Emil Zátopek

1. Emil Zátopek (1922 - 2000)

With an HPI of 69.34, Emil Zátopek is the most famous Czech Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages on wikipedia.

Emil Zátopek (Czech pronunciation: [ˈɛmɪl ˈzaːtopɛk] ; 19 September 1922 – 21 November 2000) was a Czech long-distance runner best known for winning three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He won gold in the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres runs, but his final medal came when he decided at the last minute to compete in the first marathon of his life. He was nicknamed the "Czech Locomotive". In 1954, Zátopek was the first runner to break the 29-minute barrier in the 10,000 metres. Three years earlier in 1951, he had broken the hour for running 20 km. He was considered one of the greatest runners of the 20th century and was also known for his brutally tough training methods. He popularised interval training after World War Two. In February 2013, the editors at Runner's World Magazine selected him as the Greatest Runner of All Time. He is the only person to win the 5,000 metres (24 July 1952), 10,000 metres (20 July 1952) and Marathon (27 July 1952), in the same Olympic Games.

Photo of Jan Železný

2. Jan Železný (b. 1966)

With an HPI of 58.13, Jan Železný is the 2nd most famous Czech Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.

Jan Železný (Czech pronunciation: [jan ˈʒɛlɛzniː] ; born 16 June 1966) is a Czech former track and field athlete who competed in the javelin throw. He is a World and Olympic champion and holds the world record with a throw of 98.48 metres (323 ft 1 in). Widely considered the greatest javelin thrower of the modern era, he also has the fourth, fifth and sixth best performances of all time. He broke the world record a total of four times.

Photo of Dana Zátopková

3. Dana Zátopková (1922 - 2020)

With an HPI of 56.05, Dana Zátopková is the 3rd most famous Czech Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Dana Zátopková (Czech pronunciation: [ˈdana ˈzaːtopkovaː]; née Ingrová [ˈɪŋɡrovaː], 19 September 1922 – 13 March 2020) was a Czech javelin thrower. She won the gold medal for javelin at the 1952 Summer Olympics (only an hour after her husband, Emil Zátopek, won the 5,000 m), and the silver medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics. She was the European champion in 1954 and 1958. She also set a world record in 1958 (55.73 m) when she was 35, making her the oldest woman to break one in an outdoor athletics event. Zátopková and her husband were the witnesses at the wedding ceremony of Olympic gold medalists Olga Fikotová and Harold Connolly in Prague in 1957. Emil spoke to the Czechoslovak president Antonín Zápotocký to request help in Olga getting a permit to marry Connolly. While it is not clear how much this helped, they did receive a permit a few days later.

Photo of Dominik Hašek

4. Dominik Hašek (b. 1965)

With an HPI of 51.53, Dominik Hašek is the 4th most famous Czech Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.

Dominik Hašek (Czech pronunciation: [ˈdomɪnɪk ˈɦaʃɛk], ; born 29 January 1965) is a Czech former ice hockey goaltender who mostly played for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL). Widely regarded as one of the best goaltenders of all time, Hašek also played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, and Ottawa Senators in his 16-season National Hockey League (NHL) career before finishing his career in Europe. While in Buffalo, he became one of the league's finest goaltenders, earning him the nickname "The Dominator". His strong play has been credited with establishing European goaltenders in a league previously dominated by North Americans. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, both with the Red Wings. Hašek was one of the league's most successful goaltenders of the 1990s and early 2000s. From 1993 to 2001, he won six Vezina Trophies, the most under the award's current system of voting for the best individual goaltender. In 1998 he won his second consecutive Hart Memorial Trophy, becoming the first goaltender to win the award multiple times. During the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, he led the Czech national ice hockey team to its first and only Olympic gold medal. The feat made him a popular figure in his home country and prompted hockey legend Wayne Gretzky to call him "the best player in the game". While with the Red Wings in 2002, Hašek became the first European-trained starting goaltender to win the Stanley Cup. In the process, he set a record for shutouts in a postseason year. Hašek was considered an unorthodox goaltender, with a distinct style that labeled him a "flopper". He was best known for his concentration, foot speed, flexibility, and unconventional saves, such as covering the puck with his blocker rather than his trapper. Hašek holds the highest career save percentage of all time (0.9223) and is seventh in goals against average (first in the modern era) (2.202), and the third-highest single-season save percentage (0.9366 in 1998–99). The record was broken by Tim Thomas in the 2010–11 season and again in the 2011–12 season by Brian Elliott, who now holds the record at .940. Hašek is the only goalie to face the most shots per 60 minutes and have the highest save percentage in one season. He did it twice while with the Sabres (1996 and 1998). At the time of his retirement, he was the oldest active goaltender in the NHL at 43, and the second-oldest active player in the league after Red Wings teammate Chris Chelios, who was 46. Hašek announced his retirement on June 9, 2008, but on April 21, 2009, he announced a comeback to professional hockey and signed a contract with HC Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga. On June 7, 2010, he signed with Spartak Moscow of the KHL and played the last season of his career with this team. Hašek announced his retirement on October 9, 2012. Hašek was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 17, 2014. He is also a member of the Czech Ice Hockey Hall of Fame and the IIHF Hall of Fame. His number was retired by the Buffalo Sabres (2015) and HC Pardubice (2013). In 2017, he was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.

Photo of Ludvík Daněk

5. Ludvík Daněk (1937 - 1998)

With an HPI of 50.29, Ludvík Daněk is the 5th most famous Czech Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Ludvík Daněk (Czech pronunciation: [ˈludviːk ˈdaɲɛk]; 6 January 1937 – 16 November 1998) was a Czechoslovak discus thrower, who won the gold medal at the 1972 Olympic Games with a throw of 64.40 m (211'3"). Daněk was born in Blansko, and competed in four Summer Olympics for Czechoslovakia, winning silver in 1964 Olympics, bronze in 1968 Olympics and gold in 1972 Olympics. He set three world records in discus throw, of 64.55 m in 1964, 65.22 m in 1965 and of 66.07 m in 1966. He also won several medals at the European Athletics Championships. He was the gold medallist at the 1971 European Athletics Championships and was the silver medallist three years later at the 1974 European Athletics Championships. After retiring from competitions Daněk became a sports administrator, and served as vice-president of the Czech athletics federation. The location where he set his first world record in 1964 is now celebrated with a memorial circle, and the venue in Turnov is now called the Ludvík Daněk Stadium. He died in Hutisko-Solanec near Vsetín, aged 61. Since 1999, the year following his death, the stadium has hosted an annual track and field meeting in his honour – the Ludvík Daněk Memorial.

Photo of František Pospíšil

6. František Pospíšil (b. 1944)

With an HPI of 49.97, František Pospíšil is the 6th most famous Czech Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

František Pospíšil (born 2 April 1944) is a Czech former ice hockey defenceman and coach. Internationally, he played for the Czechoslovakia men's national ice hockey team from 1967 to 1977, at the IIHF World Championships and the Winter Olympics. He was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1999.

Photo of Olga Fikotová

7. Olga Fikotová (1932 - 2024)

With an HPI of 49.72, Olga Fikotová is the 7th most famous Czech Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Olga Fikotová (Czech pronunciation: [ˈolɡa ˈfɪkotovaː], 13 November 1932 – 12 April 2024) was a Czechoslovak and later American discus thrower. She is best known for winning gold at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and for her romance across Cold War barriers with American hammer gold medalist Hal Connolly.

Photo of Helena Fibingerová

8. Helena Fibingerová (b. 1949)

With an HPI of 48.95, Helena Fibingerová is the 8th most famous Czech Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Helena Fibingerová (Czech pronunciation: [ˈɦɛlɛna ˈfɪbɪŋɡɛrovaː]) (born 13 July 1949 in Víceměřice, Olomouc Region) is a Czech shot putter who won an Olympic bronze medal in 1976 and became World champion in 1983. She also set three world records.

Photo of František Janda-Suk

9. František Janda-Suk (1878 - 1955)

With an HPI of 48.61, František Janda-Suk is the 9th most famous Czech Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

František Janda-Suk (Czech pronunciation: [ˈfrancɪʃɛk ˈjanda ˈsuk], 25 March 1878 – 23 June 1955) was a Czech athlete who competed for Bohemia in the 1900 Summer Olympics and in the 1912 Summer Olympics and Czechoslovakia at the 1924 Summer Olympics. He was born in Postřižín near Roudnice nad Labem and died in Prague. In the 1900 Summer Olympics held in Paris, France, where he won the silver medal in the discus throw. He was the first modern athlete to throw the discus while rotating the whole body. He invented this technique when studying the position of the famous statue of Discobolus. After only one year of developing the technique he gained the olympic silver. At the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden he was 15th in shot put and 17th in discus throw .

Photo of Jaroslav Holík

10. Jaroslav Holík (1942 - 2015)

With an HPI of 48.50, Jaroslav Holík is the 10th most famous Czech Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Jaroslav Holík (Czech pronunciation: [ˈjaroslav ˈɦoliːk]; August 3, 1942 – April 17, 2015) was a Czech professional ice hockey coach and former player.

People

Pantheon has 84 people classified as Czech athletes born between 1878 and 1997. Of these 84, 50 (59.52%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Czech athletes include Jan Železný, Dominik Hašek, and František Pospíšil. The most famous deceased Czech athletes include Emil Zátopek, Dana Zátopková, and Ludvík Daněk. As of April 2024, 26 new Czech athletes have been added to Pantheon including Zdeněk Pecka, Hugo Simon, and Jiří Havlis.

Living Czech Athletes

Go to all Rankings

Deceased Czech Athletes

Go to all Rankings

Newly Added Czech Athletes (2024)

Go to all Rankings

Overlapping Lives

Which Athletes were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Athletes since 1700.