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SEOUL – Emil Zátopek and The 2011 IAAF World Championship Daegu

Story of Czech long distance runner, Emil Zátopek, one of the the world´s most successful athletes, voted the greatest runner of the 20th century, is once more available to Korean public on the occassion of the forthcoming World Championship in athletics in Daegu Highly regarded novel „Courir“ by acclaimed French writer and Goncourt Prize recipient Jean Echenoz saw a special „Daegu“ edition.

A role-model as a sporting hero as well as social hero, a fame of Emil Zátopek, quadruple Olympic winner in 1948 and 1952, in many ways resembles one of his preceding marathonerrs, Korean Sohn Kee-Chung, who was also a tireless fighter for his nation. Zátopek was not only a remarkable athletic star and a king of long-track in his times, but also an enthusiastic fighter for freedom and democracy. When he was among leading Czech personalities demanding the country´s democratization after the Soviet occupation in 1968, he was fired from all important positions in both sporting and social life, and lived in his internal exile until the fall of communism in 1989. In the last decade of his life he once more reemerged as an important role-model.

Novel by Jean Echenoz, published under Korean title 달리기shows this Czech sporting hero as a unique person, hardworking man, but also an integral part of the history of Europe in the mid-20th century. Its Korean special edition on the occassion of The 2011 IAAF World Championship Daegu“ was published by Open Books and launched on a press conference on August 18, 2011 at French Cultural Center, Seoul (www.france.or.kr).

Main speakers were Mr. Jung-ki „Rocky“ Park, President of Korea Association of Athletics Federation, Member of the IAAF Council and a writer himself and Mr. Lee Jae Lyong, professor of French literature and translator of Echenoz´s novel. With 30+ present journalists and guests, the book was introduced also by H.E. Mr. Jaroslav Olša, jr., Ambassador of the Czech Republic, Mr. Thierry Barthelot, chargé d´affaires of the Embassy of France. Mr. Hwang Won-kun, VIce Secretary General, The Organizing Committee for the IAAF World Championships Daegu, and Mr. Gregory Limpens, editor of Open Books.

Famous Czech beer Pilsner Urquell was served after the press conference.