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The Most Famous

ATHLETES from Slovakia

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This page contains a list of the greatest Slovak Athletes. The pantheon dataset contains 3,059 Athletes, 23 of which were born in Slovakia. This makes Slovakia the birth place of the 42nd most number of Athletes behind Denmark and Mexico.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Slovak Athletes of all time. This list of famous Slovak 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 Slovak Athletes.

Photo of Alajos Szokolyi

1. Alajos Szokolyi (1871 - 1932)

With an HPI of 54.37, Alajos Szokolyi is the most famous Slovak Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 28 different languages on wikipedia.

Alajos János Szokolyi (also referred to as Alajos Szokoly, Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈɒlɒjoʃ ˈsokoji]; Slovak: Alojz Sokol; 19 June 1871 – 9 September 1932) was a Hungarian athlete, sports organizer, sports manager, archivist and physician.He competed at the 1896 Summer Olympics, winning the bronze medal in 100 metres dash. In the same year he also won the first ever edition of the Hungarian Athletics Championships in 100 yards dash.

Photo of Vladimír Dzurilla

2. Vladimír Dzurilla (1942 - 1995)

With an HPI of 53.35, Vladimír Dzurilla is the 2nd most famous Slovak Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Vladimír Dzurilla (2 August 1942 in Bratislava, Slovakia – 27 July 1995 in Düsseldorf, Germany) was a Slovak ice hockey goaltender playing for Czechoslovakia. Dzurilla, a refrigerator repairman by profession, was goalie for the Czechoslovak national team for over 16 years, winning three gold, three silver and four bronze medals at world championships as well as one silver and two bronze Olympic medals. However, in most of these tournaments Dzurilla and Jiří Holeček were battling to be Czechoslovakia's top goaltender and each were given their share of games.For North American fans, he is mostly known for stopping 29 shots in a 1-0 win over Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup (where the Czechoslovaks finished second).Dzurilla was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 1998. He suffered a fatal heart attack at his home in Düsseldorf, Germany on 27 July 1995, only days before his 53rd birthday.

Photo of Imre Németh

3. Imre Németh (1917 - 1989)

With an HPI of 51.02, Imre Németh is the 3rd most famous Slovak Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Imre Németh (23 September 1917 in Kassa, Hungary (now Košice, Slovakia) – 18 August 1989 in Budapest) was a Hungarian hammer thrower. He won the gold medal at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, Great Britain. He returned four years later to defend his title at the 1952 Summer Olympics held in Helsinki, Finland but failed, only managing to finish third for the bronze medal.Németh broke the world record on three occasions. On 14 July 1948 he threw 59.02 metres, beating Erwin Blask's official record from 1938 by two centimetres. (However, this was still inferior to Pat O'Callaghan's unratified record of 59.56, dating back to 1937.) On 4 September 1949 Németh improved the world mark to 59.57, beating both the official and the unofficial record. Finally, on 19 May 1950 Németh threw 59.88 m in Budapest.Németh's son, javelin thrower Miklós Németh, also won an Olympic gold medal.

Photo of József Csermák

4. József Csermák (1932 - 2001)

With an HPI of 47.62, József Csermák is the 4th most famous Slovak Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

József Csermák (14 February 1932 – 12 January 2001 in Tapolca) was a Hungarian hammer thrower. He won the gold medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics with a throw of 60.34 m, setting a new world record and becoming the first athlete to break the 60 m barrier. At the next Olympics Csermák was chosen as the Olympic flag bearer for Hungary, but placed only fifth. He failed to reach the final at the 1960 Olympics. Besides his 1952 Olympic gold medal, Csermák won four Hungarian titles and a bronze medal at the 1954 European Championships.

Photo of Béla Szepes

5. Béla Szepes (1903 - 1986)

With an HPI of 42.99, Béla Szepes is the 5th most famous Slovak Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Béla Szepes (né Strauch; September 5, 1903, Igló – June 20, 1986, Budapest) was a Hungarian skier, athlete, graphic designer and journalist. He competed at the 1924 Winter Olympics and won the silver medal in the javelin throw in the 1928 Summer Olympics. He captured seven Hungarian Athletics Championships and three British Athletics Championships titles. Later Szepes had a successful career as a graphic artist, becoming an influential sports cartoonist in Hungary.

Photo of Jozef Pribilinec

6. Jozef Pribilinec (1960 - )

With an HPI of 40.71, Jozef Pribilinec is the 6th most famous Slovak Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Jozef Pribilinec (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈjɔzef ˈpribiliɲets]; born 6 July 1960) is a Slovak track and field athlete who mainly competed in racewalking. He was born in Kopernica. Pribilinec competed for the former Czechoslovakia at the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea where he won the gold medal in the men's 20 kilometre walk event.He represented Czechoslovakia for most of his career and in addition to his Olympic gold, won two silver medals at the World Championships in Athletics (1983 and 1987) and one gold and one silver at the European Athletics Championships for his country. He was a two-time champion at the European Athletics Indoor Championships, winning in 1987 and 1988 over distances of 3000 m and 5000 m, respectively. He was a four-time participant at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup and his best performance was a win over 20 km at the 1983 IAAF World Race Walking Cup, becoming his country's first victor at the competition. He had previously shown his developing talent as a youngster with a win at the 1979 European Athletics Junior Championships.His personal best time of 1:19:30 hours for the 20 km race was a world record from 24 September 1983 to 3 May 1987. This continued a tradition of Czechoslovak record holders, following in the steps of Václav Balšán and Josef Doležal.Before retiring, he represented Slovakia at the 1993 World Championships in Athletics, placing 17th in the men's 20 km walk.

Photo of Imrich Bugár

7. Imrich Bugár (1955 - )

With an HPI of 40.09, Imrich Bugár is the 7th most famous Slovak Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Imrich Bugár (Hungarian: Bugár Imre, born 14 April 1955) is a Czechoslovak discus thrower. An ethnic Hungarian who represented Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic, his career highlights include an Olympic silver medal from 1980, a European Championship title from 1982 and a gold medal in the inaugural World Championships in 1983. His personal best throw of 71.26 metres puts him tenth in the all-time performers list.

Photo of Michal Martikán

8. Michal Martikán (1979 - )

With an HPI of 36.19, Michal Martikán is the 8th most famous Slovak Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Michal Martikán (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈmixal ˈmartikaːn]; born 18 May 1979) is a Slovak slalom canoeist who has been competing at the international level since 1994. In 1996 he became the first athlete to win an Olympic gold medal for Slovakia since the country gained independence in 1993. In total he won 5 Olympic medals (2 golds, 2 silvers and 1 bronze), which is the most among all slalom paddlers. He has also won the World Championship title in the C1 individual category four times.

Photo of Ján Volko

9. Ján Volko (1996 - )

With an HPI of 32.86, Ján Volko is the 9th most famous Slovak Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Ján Volko (born 2 November 1996) is a Slovak sprinter. He competed in the 60 metres at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

Photo of Elena Kaliská

10. Elena Kaliská (1972 - )

With an HPI of 32.23, Elena Kaliská is the 10th most famous Slovak Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Elena Kaliská (born 19 January 1972) is a retired Slovak slalom canoeist who competed at the international level from 1988 to 2019. She specialized in the K1 event, which was the only discipline available for women during the vast majority of her career. Competing in four Summer Olympics, she won two gold medals in the K1 event, earning them in 2004 and 2008. Kaliská also won five medals at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships with two golds (K1: 2005, K1 team: 2011), two silvers (K1: 2007, K1 team: 2009) and a bronze (K1 team: 2014).She has won the overall World Cup title 6 times (2000-2001, 2003–2006), which is a record the K1 discipline.At the European Championships she won a total of 16 medals (8 golds, 4 silvers and 4 bronzes).In 2021, she won a gold medal in K1 at inaugural ICF Masters Canoe Slalom World Championship in Kraków.She announced her retirement from the sport during the 2021 World Championships in Bratislava, where she performed demo runs. Kaliská began competing in canoe slalom as soon as 1979.

Pantheon has 23 people classified as athletes born between 1871 and 1996. Of these 23, 18 (78.26%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living athletes include Jozef Pribilinec, Imrich Bugár, and Michal Martikán. The most famous deceased athletes include Alajos Szokolyi, Vladimír Dzurilla, and Imre Németh. As of April 2022, 5 new athletes have been added to Pantheon including Béla Szepes, Ján Volko, and Zuzana Rehák-Štefečeková.

Living Athletes

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Deceased Athletes

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Newly Added Athletes (2022)

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Which Athletes were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 5 most globally memorable Athletes since 1700.