Jan Zelezy throwing for gold at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney (© Getty Images)
Alfons Juck for the IAAF
Legendary javelin thrower Jan Zelezny made media headlines again. Recently during the live transmission of the Czech Athletes of the year ceremony he declared before a big audience that he wasn’t happy that the title had been awarded to him (for a record seventh time already), because Roman Sebrle, who bettered the world record in the decathlon earlier this year, should have been the winner.
Now, Zelezny decided to resign as IOC Member, a position he had been appointed to in December 1999 when elected as a representative of the athletes. His arguments are clear. He wants to continue as an active athlete which would mean no time left for him to be an active IOC Member. And being an IOC member just formally is definitely against his nature.
IOC President Jacques Rogge accepted his resignation and the reasons Zelezny presented and said he would be welcomed back at any time.
Extract from Jan Zelezny’s speech
"I didn’t want to be a member only on paper. I want to continue competing and concentrate only on this and my family. It is impossible to combine world class preparation with IOC Member duties. All athletes in the IOC except HSH Prince Albert of Monaco are no longer active. I need a lot of time to finish my career successfully. After that, I can come back to my other activities including those in the IOC.
"To be a valuable member I would need to travel, attend various conferences, meetings etc. I very much respect the Olympic movement and this step was made in accordance with it, I think the IOC deserves somebody who would be active and helpful. I have been thinking a lot about my decision, consulted many people, including leaders of the Czech Olympic Committee.
"I sent an official letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge. He thanked me for having such a frank position. Another point in my thinking was that in 2003 the IOC Session will take place in Prague and that would be a good chance for the Czech Republic to have a new IOC member. My mandate as an athlete in the IOC was to finish only in 2004, with my latest step I left the way free for some of the best officials of my country."
Zelezny already started his preparation for next season in his home country.
Early January he plans to travel to South Africa for his traditional training camp. Just before Christmas on December 21, there will be another important poll for the election of the Czech Sportsman of the year. Zelezny together with decathletes Roman Sebrle and Tomas Dvorak is amongst the nominees for this title.
Alfons Juck for the IAAF