|Javelin Throw||88.34||London (Olympic Stadium)||08 AUG 2012|
|2015||88.18||Birmingham (Alexander), GBR||07 JUN|
|2014||87.38||Ostrava (Mestský Stadion)||17 JUN|
|2013||87.68||Monaco (Stade Louis II)||19 JUL|
|2012||88.34||London (Olympic Stadium)||08 AUG|
|2011||84.11||Daegu (DS)||03 SEP|
|2008||81.20||Beijing (National Stadium)||21 AUG|
|2006||75.98||Praha (Stadion Rošický)||24 JUN|
|15th IAAF World Championships||8||83.13||Beijing (National Stadium)||26 AUG 2015|
|2nd IAAF Continental Cup 2014||2||83.77||Marrakech (Le Grande Stade)||14 SEP 2014|
|14th IAAF World Championships||1||87.17||Moskva (Luzhniki)||17 AUG 2013|
|The XXX Olympic Games||4||83.34||London (Olympic Stadium)||11 AUG 2012|
|13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||4||84.11||Daegu (DS)||03 SEP 2011|
|12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||16q1||75.76||Berlin (Olympiastadion)||21 AUG 2009|
|The XXIX Olympic Games||12||76.76||Beijing (National Stadium)||23 AUG 2008|
|IAAF/Coca Cola World Junior Championships||9||68.76||Kingston (NS), JAM||21 JUL 2002|
Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.
Updated 3 August 2013
Vitezslav VESELY, Czech Republic (Javelin Throw)
Born: 27 February 1983, Hodonin
Coach: Jan Zelezny
Manager: Alfons Juck
Club: Dukla Praha (Army Sport Group in Prague)
Some people call him a philosopher because of his quiet and introvert character. He seems to be a bit phlegmatic but in fact he needs to feel pressure to show the best performances. Vitezslav Vesely, the second man in the Czech all-time tables (88.34) behind his coach and World record holder Jan Zelezny (98.48) is one of the biggest hopes of the Czech team for the gold medal at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
A park with an athletics stadium in the city of Hodonín, South Moravia, was the place where Vitezslav’s father used to take his son to watch an athletics competition. He saw the javelin thrower Zdenek Adamec who was described by his father as “a gentleman of Javelin Throw”. Vita, as most of the people call Vesely, liked athletics so much, that he started to attend the sport’s basic school at the age of 10. He used to be the best in the cricket ball throw, but the coaches preferred the kids to run.
He was already a 14-year-old youngster when he tried the Javelin for the first time. “It was just by coincidence. We were at the training camp in Certovy kameny with coach Lipa and he allowed me to throw downhill from the slope. There was not enough space to throw it a different way,” Vesely described his first Javelin experience.
As a 15-year-old pupil he became the national champion in his category, winning in his first real competition throwing 36 metres in Pilsen. “I did not even have the real spikes for Javelin. I only threw in the normal spikes for running but without the nails,” he remembers.
Despite the victory, he still mainly competed in races and he also gained the national youth title in the cross country. But at the age of 16 he decided to do something more in this sport. He left the city of Hodonín because there was no real coach for Javelin Throw and he moved to Zlín to study at the Business high school. The main reason for this change was a coach, Jaroslav Halva, who used to train also famous Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny, while the latter was living in Banska Bystrica. Unconsciously, he started the way to Jan Zelezny with this step.
After throwing 73.22 in June 2002, the 19-year-old athlete attended his first international competition at the World Junior Championships in Kingston, ending his journey in qualification with 71.59.
But at the age of 21 he literally ended his athletic career. Nobody would have predicted him to become the European champion 8 years later. A humble and nice guy, as they usually describe Vesely, almost missed his athletic future when he felt disgusted and tired of all the health problems and injuries he had. Problems with shoulder, elbow, and ankle made his favourite event a torture in the junior age group. Nothing seemed to help. Vesely started to look for a job and worked as an officer in the music school. His career was saved when he received the positive reply letter from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport in Prague. Despite the painful elbow, he wanted to try training again and he moved to the Czech capital.
In 2006, he competed in only a handful of javelin competitions for his club Sparta Praha. Pain in the elbow prevented him from participating in more competitions, but he still managed to improve his personal best closer to 76 metres.
Then, his life changed almost from one day to another. Triple Olympic champion Jan Zelezny was ending his active professional career and was looking for some talents to start as a coach. In this moment, former shot putter Remigius Machura called Zelezny and said: “There is one strange guy training in my group in Sparta but there is something about him.” Zelezny liked Vesely and they agreed to cooperate.
The “new-born” athlete missed the Osaka World Championships due to problems with his left foot, but he managed to improve at the end of the 2007 season achieving 79.45, a new PB.
The way to the 80 metre barrier was not easy but was successfully completed in 2008. Vesely fulfilled the B-Olympic standard at the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting throwing 78 metres, then improving in Kladno to 79.70. The qualification round in Beijing did not look good for him, as he had one fault and the second attempt of 78.93 seemed to be not long enough for a spot in the final. But in the third and last attempt he pushed it far and broke his personal best with 81.20 metres to become an Olympic finalist. Coach Zelezny commented his result as his birth as a javelin thrower because his PB starts with number 8 from that moment. In the final he threw only 76.76 to finish 12th.
80.35 was a solid achievement right at the beginning of the 2009 season, in May, to qualify for the World Championships in Berlin. However, injury prevented him from registering a notable performance in the German capital, where he finished 28th with 76.76.
The big breakthrough became in May 2010, when Vesely improved by 5 metres to 86.45 in Olomouc, and he started to think about battles with the biggest stars for the first time. “They are also just humans and have good and bad moments. It is not such an unrealistic idea to beat Thorkildsen and Pitkämäki one day.”
But this result was just a first stepping stone on the long way through a number of injuries and complications. The performances of Vesely that year were unstable, and changing from one competition to another. “When you are not healthy, your mind is also not relaxed and does not allow you to show technically valuable attempts, even if you are trained enough,” explained the athlete, who however managed to go five times over 80 metres in 2010. “You learn to become the best javelin thrower over many years.” He left for the European Championships, in Barcelona, with high expectations, but 77.83 was enough only for ninth place. “I think I was over-motivated. After the first attempt I started to be afraid to take risks.”
In 2011, Vesely’s results were more stable, with nine results over 80m, and this time he peaked when it mattered most. Fourth place at the World Championships, in Daegu, with 84.11 was one of the greatest results of the Czech team in Korea. Vesely regretted the missed bronze medal a bit, but stayed focused, with a strong end of the year, and prepared to his transition as a soldier. In the winter 2011, Vesely entered the Czech army and finally felt healthy. He was becoming more and more self-confident in training. "Despite the fact he still thinks about too many things, like a philosopher, he finally realised basic things he has to take care of: rhythm and to hold up his hand,” Zelezny added.
The year 2012 started with big achievements and many people were wondering if the Czech Olympic hope would be still in shape for the London Olympic Games. Front positions and victories at the Diamond League meetings in Shanghai and Olso, the latter with a personal best of 88.11, confirmed Vita’s shape and stabilised technique. The European Championships, in Helsinki, were like a little Olympic rehearsal. Beating the biggest stars on the list a few weeks before London, could have shown the future Olympic winner.
Everybody was very surprised that Vesely had big troubles with the qualification in the Finnish capital. Members of the Czech team were on needles whether their medal hope would even qualify to the final throwing 79.09. In the end, the mark qualified him, with the 10th place.
After prolongation of the run up, in the final he won with 83.72. “It was very emotional to listen to the Czech anthem but I do not have any special place for the medal. I would even sell it, if it is for a good thing,” said Vesely as he went to celebrate the title, which was never achieved by his coach, at the Czech pub Vltava in Helsinki.
But the Olympic medal would mean something special to the student of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport in Prague, who has even interrupted his studies to prepare properly for the 11 August final in London. “I did not even check the date yet,” said the phlegmatic Vesely seriously in Helsinki. Just one year before, after the long series of fourth places at Diamond League meetings and the World Championships in Daegu, he had joked that he would change his diet into fish and chips to perform well on British soil.
He arrived in London as the world leader that season and as a man who did not finish worse than second in any meeting that year. He prepared a shock to his opponents in the javelin throw qualification round, when he improved his PB with the first attempt to 88.34. But he did not imitate his team and training partner Barbora Spotakova, who won the Olympic title in British metropolis. He stayed without a medal in fourth place, achieving 83.34m, only 78cm shy of a medal, in a competition where Kershorn Walcott grabbed the title for 84.58.
“This fourth place will hurt me even more than the one from Daegu,” he stated sadly. “I don’t have any excuses. There was a chance and I did not use it. My fault. I had a problem with right timing. I don’t know why I went crazy.”
In the end of the season, he became the 2012 Diamond League overall winner after finishing fourth in the final competition in Zürich. In the best 2012 European athlete poll, held by European Athletics, he finished 12th.
Before the 2013 summer season he became the new number one of the training group of Jan Zelezny, when the double Olympic champion and the World record holder Barbora Spotakova left for maternity leave. He spent three months preparing in South Africa in the winter, longer than ever before. Coach Zelezny was glad about his training. “He looks very well.” Also Vesely felt in good shape. “I feel that it was a good decision, especially when the spring in Europe looked like a winter this year. I left Africa ready and glad to compete.”
He won right the first Diamond League in Doha on 10 May with 85.09m, despite the fact that he had problems to get visa and got into the hotel only at 3am the night before the competition. He also ruled the meeting in Oslo on 13 June with 85.96 despite the pain in his Achilles tendon. Jan Zelezny started to say that Vesely is ready for the 90 meters throw.
“When the conditions are good, I believe I am able to throw over 90,” Vesely stated. “But I have to coach my head. I must not want it too much. The Javelin Throw is much about the head. I tell to myself: Throw and don’t go mad, then it will fly away. I am not like some throwers from the East who sneeze ammonia to clear up their mind. It does not help me. My internal system hypes me up enough.”
When he got injured in the end of June at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham, there were some worries he may have torn his muscle. Fortunately, these worries were not true, but because of his stretched inner pulling muscle on the right leg he rather skipped the next Diamond League meeting in Lausanne on 3 July. “It will need some time to stay calm. The season is well started and I was quite self-confident before every competition. The most important is to not to lose the good feeling from throwing, to not to worry about the groin and not to make useless mistakes.”
Nothing like this happened. Three weeks before the World Championships in Moscow, Vesely showed his power again at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco by winning in the world leading mark of 87.68m (adding 8 centimeters to the achievement of Tero Pitkamaki). “I am healthy again and I can start my preparation for Moscow in good mood,” he stated. Just to prevent some injury, he quit throwing after third attempts at the Herculis meeting.
“His poker-face is a big advantage for him. The opponents never know what he thinks and so they start to be afraid of him,” thinks Jan Zelezny about his athlete. Sport historians say that Vesely is a copy of Zelezny in his early years. He also was not very talkative and they both had the same motto: “We are not fanatics about healthy diets. To feel comfortable is the most important thing to show good result.” Both have similar hobbies like fishing or watching movies.
There is just one motivation for Vesely in Moscow – the World champion title. “It won´t be any one-man show in Javelin Throw, as it can look like. But there will be just one winner and only gold counts. I don’t want to be fourth again...”
Javelin Throw: 88.34 (2012)
2001: 66.18; 2002: 73.22; 2003: 66.95 ; 2004: 72.32; 2006: 75.98; 2007: 79.45; 2008: 81.20; 2009: 80.35; 2010: 86.45; 2011: 84.11; 2012: 88.34 (PB), 2013: 87.68
World Junior Championships (Kingston)
European Champion Clubs Cup (Vila Real
European Cup – First League, Group A (Lairia)
Olympic Games (Beijing)
76.76 (81.20 in q)
World Championships (Berlin)
European Team Championships (Budapest)
European Championships (Barcelona)
World Championships (Daegu)
European Championships (Helsinki)
Olympic Games (London)
European Team Championships (Dublin)
Prepared by Zuzana Trojakova for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2012-2013