Pavel Maslák, born in
Havířov, is a Czech athlete,
sprinter and three-times
world champion in the
indoor 400 metre run.
He is the only athlete in
Czech history who has won
the men’s 400 metre
dash at an indoor world
consecutive times. In this
interview, we asked him
how he feels about Zlatá
tretra (Golden Spike) and the
upcoming Olympic Games,
and he also shares his
favourite, though not very
famous, attraction in the
Pavel, this year you celebrated a ‘round
birthday’ as well as Zlatá tretra (Golden
Spike) whose first year was held sixty years
ago, in 1961. Did you find any inspiration
in the history of the Golden Spike
championships that motivated you for your
My athletic hero is Jeremy Wariner, who ran
the 400 metre dash and whose running style
was very nice. I have always wanted to run like
him. Many famous athletes have competed at
Golden Spike, Jeremy Wariner included. I’ve
had the privilege to run with him twice at the
Golden Spike. Well, yes: Jeremy Wariner is
the motivation for my current achievements.
How do you see the Golden Spike? Is it
a significant sports event for the MoravianSilesian Region?
I see the Golden Spike as the greatest Czech
track-and-field event, extremely important
for the Czech athletics. It is important for
the Moravian-Silesian Region, too, because
young athletes can see the world leaders in
the sport. That is the true motivator.
What was your aim at the Golden
Spike? Are you happy with your success?
You came in best amongst Czech
My aim was to run a good time and achieve
a good position. The result I was hoping for
at the beginning of the season was about
forty-six seconds, which I did not achieve,
and I am not very happy with my position.
I was hoping to place fourth of fifth.
The Golden Spike was open to an audience
and sports fans arrived at the City Stadium.
When competing, do you notice your
Yes, I do. I do notice the audience and I’m
glad they could come. They were allowed in
limited numbers but still, I am grateful they
were there. I was happy that my family could
come. There are usually more of my relations
but I saved some of the capacity for others,
Was the Golden Spike a start-up to the
season before the coming Olympic Games?
The Golden Spike was the springboard
to the summer season. I focused on this
championship really hard because I was not
sure about my position in the ranking for the
Foto: Pavol Uhrin
2012 was the year of greatest
achievements: in May you broke
the Czech 400 metre record outdoors,
tied the national record for 200 metres in
20.60 seconds, at the end of June won the
European Championship in Helsinki in
400 metres in 45.24 seconds, became
the first Czech runner finish 400 metres
below 45 seconds (44.91 s) at the Olympic
Games in London. Do you keep a display of
your achievements at home?
The truth is that 2012 was my great entrée
to the world athletics, and I love these
memories. I became the Rising Star for the
European Athlete of the Year Trophy which
is my greatest achievement so far. Me and
my family have recently moved to a house,
so all my trophies are still in a box. However,
I intend to buy a nice cabinet to have them
You are an individual athlete, yet you also
perform great in a relay race. Which do you
I cannot say I enjoy any of these better; the
disciplines are absolutely different. I like
them both. I am alone in a solo race and
the emotions are not so intense, while in
a relay race there are four of us and all the
emotions grow stronger. No matter if it is joy
You have achieved all your personal records
when contesting in Třinec and Ostrava.
Is the home field the best environment?
Where do you feel at home?
I do not consider it the best advantage. It
feels great to be on the home field before
the race, to calm down and relax, but it is not
the stadium itself. The achievements I have
experienced in Ostrava and Třinec connect
to how superb these stadiums are, how lucky
I was with a fine weather and good shape.
You come from Havířov. Which part of
the town is your favourite and which
destination in the Moravian-Silesian Region
would you recommend a tourist to visit?
I admit that growing up in Havířov, I did not
like the town. Now I do enjoy coming back
because it has its charms, it is a peaceful,
green town. Living there, I loved the Těrlicko
Reservoir but I have not gone there for quite
a long time so I am not sure if it has kept its
magic. What I do sincerely recommend is the
Lower Area of Vítkovice and Sculpture Park
at Babí hora in Hradiště near the Reservoir
To conclude with, tell us what your
favourite meal is. What do you like best?
That is very simple: chicken schnitzel with
potato salad or mashed potatoes.
Pavel, thank you for the interview.
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