One of the greatest javelin throwers in history has drawn her long and illustrious career to a close.
Czech Republic’s Barbora Spotakova has announced her retirement less than a month after winning bronze at the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championships, her tenth major medal dating back to the 2006 European Championships in Gothenburg and a medal which she described "as the most beautiful in my career."
But Spotakova’s senior international career goes back even further in antiquity, earning her first Czech vest at the 2002 European Athletics Championships which also took place in Munich. The Czech world record-holder was one of just three athletes to take part in both championships.
"Every fairy tale has its end, this fairytale has a wonderful happy ending. Everything points to the fact that the circle is really closing. I suspected it since (last) September.
“I knew that after 20 years I would return to Munich to the Olympic stadium where Jan Železný and Jaroslav Brabec persuaded me to take up the javelin. I wished that after twenty years the circle would close nicely. And it succeeded. That ending was beautiful,” Spotakova told the Czech press this morning.
Spotakova, who initially showed promise in her U20 days in the heptathlon before focusing on the javelin, took to the runway for the final time in yesterday’s Diamond League final in Zurich, bowing out from competition with a fifth-place finish with 59.08m.
"Yesterday, it became quite clear [this was the last competition]. During the warm-up, my Achilles which I hurt in May, hurt. It lasted until Zurich. But even so, 59 metres is quite fine without a leg,” she smiled.
From the 10 major medals Spotakova accrued between 2006 and 2022, six of them were gold. Spotakova won back-to-back Olympic titles in 2008 and 2012, world titles in 2007, 2011 and 2017 and completed the set of major titles with European gold in Zurich 2014.