The reigning Olympic javelin champion Barbora Špotáková came first in the international Diamond League this year, but could only manage bronze at the European Championships in Barcelona. Following a season blighted by injuries, the 29-year-old announced last month she was parting company with her trainer – and planning to work with javelin legend Jan Železný. When I spoke to Špotáková this week, I asked the athletics star if it was true there had been a link between her training schedule and her injury problems.
“Of course there was. I think it’s also because there were a lot of competitions in a very short period. That means you cannot rest very well, and also you cannot have technical training, throwing training. The season is only competing, which is very bad for injuries.”
From next season you will be trained by Jan Železný, who is probably the greatest athlete in the history of the javelin. Why are you going with him?
“I think he’s a legend in this event, in the javelin… Actually he also helped me in previous times. He was the one who told me to start with the javelin and not to do the heptathlon. He taught me the basics of technique in the javelin. It wasn’t my coach who taught me the technical stuff, because he was the heptathlon coach. So I was already working with him, and now it’s time for a change and I’m really looking forward to working with him full-time.”
You have the women’s record, Jan Železný still has the men’s record, the Czech Republic is a kind of javelin superpower. Why is that, do you think?
“It was very nice when I threw the world record. It was the first thing I thought about – that the Czech Republic has both world records. I think it’s a tradition also, because we also have the Olympic winner Dana Zátopková [Helsinki 1952]. Also when you have somebody to follow… when you see that somebody is a legend in an event, it’s better to start this event than when you start on your own and there is nobody in front of you.”
How have you been spending your free time since the end of the season?
“I’m really taking time for myself. I’m trying to tidy up my new flat, because we moved in two months ago and there is still a lot of stuff to do. I’m just having fun and relaxing and not thinking about the javelin – I try not to think about the javelin at all. I’m also taking some trips around the Czech Republic, and seeing friends I don’t normally have time to visit.”