Profile Born on 16 June 1966 in Mladá Boleslav, Czechoslovakia, Zelezný had the right genes for javelin throwing. His father Jaroslav, who was his first coach, and his mother Jana both practised the sport. In his youth, Zelezný also played handball, but he could not ignore his natural talent.
After winning bronze at the World Championships in 1987 and silver at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, he started dominating the sport from the early 1990s. Zelezný claimed Olympic gold medals in 1992, 1996 and 2000 and three World Championships titles in 1993, 1995 and 2001, setting five world records in the process and being voted IAAF Athlete of the Year in 2000. The five best performances in javelin throwing history are credited to his name. On 25 May 1996, Zelezný recorded the still standing world record distance of 98.48 metres, more than five metres further than any other man. Remarkably, Zelezný never won the European crown. He had to settle for two bronze medals, one in 1994 in Helsinki and one in 2006 in Gothenburg.
Zelezný’s remains involved in sport as he was elected as an IOC member in 1999, having already been a member of IOC’s Athletes Commision.