Roman Šebrle

Roman Šebrle

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Roman Šebrle
Event decathlon
Nationality Czech
Born Nov. 26, 1974 at Lanškroun, Czech Republic
Club TJ Dukla Prah

Roman Šebrle (1974-) is an athlete from the Czech Republic, who set the world record in the decathlon and won the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Originally a high jumper, he competes in decathlon and heptathlon for team TJ Dukla Praha and is a world record holder in the decathlon. In 2001 in Götzis he became the first decathlete ever to achieve over 9,000 points, setting the record at 9,026 points, succeeding his compatriot, Tomáš Dvořák, who had scored 8,994 points two years earlier.

After placing second in the decathlon during the 2000 Summer Olympics, Šebrle won the gold medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics and was the current world champion until he finished sixth in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

A panel of experts convened by the Wall Street Journal in 2008 also ranked Šebrle as the world's greatest athlete.[1]


Private life

Roman Šebrle was born in Lanškroun, the Czech Republic. He studied at Gymnázium Františka Martina Pelcla (Template:Lang-en) in Rychnov nad Kněžnou and at Gymnázium Pardubice. Then he studied an extension course of Information Science and Computer Technology.[2]

On 14 October 2000 Šebrle married Eva Kasalová,[3] a former Czech athlete who competed on the track at 400 and 800 metres. His son, Štěpán, was born on 4 September 2002 and his daughter Kateřina on 30 January 2006.[4]

Sporting career


When Roman Šebrle was six years old, he started playing soccer, but also occasionally took part in track. In 1987 he broke his calf bone and shin bone on one leg in a collision with the opponent goalkeeper during a soccer match. After this incident, he had his leg in plaster for 2 months and spent one year relearning to walk.[2]

He competed in his first decathlon competition in 1991 in Týniště nad Orlicí, reaching 5,187 points. Then he met coach Jiří Čechák who convinced him to change school from Rychnov nad Kněžnou to Pardubice, where he joined the Track and Field club in 1992. He improved his decathlon personal best to 7,642 points, although he did just light training.[2]

TJ Dukla Praha

In 1995, he started his two-year compulsory military service in the Czech Armed Forces. He joined the army sports club TJ Dukla Praha and its group of decathletes led by coach Jiří Váňa, and has stayed its member since that time.[2] Thus he is still automatically a soldier of the Czech army, although in fact he does not take part in any military operations and with few exceptions[5] in any military training.[6]


In 1996 Šebrle achieved a score of over 8,000 points for the first time, reaching 8,210 points at a meeting in Prague. His first big success came in 1997, when he won the World University Games in Sicily and came ninth at the World Championships in Athens. In 1999 he was successful at the World Indoor Championships in Maebashi, where he won bronze in the heptathlon, and one year later at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Ghent, where he took silver.

By the end of the discus discipline at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, after Estonian Erki Nool was red-flagged three times by the discus judge, it seemed that Roman Šebrle was on course for the gold medal. However, the competition referee over-ruled the decision and Šebrle finally took silver.[7]

In March 2001 he won the first major tournament - the World Indoor Championships in Lisbon - and in May he shocked the world with a new world record of 9,026 points. However, due to an injury he couldn´t do himself justice and finished a disappointed 10th in the World Championships in Edmonton.

Then he left the Váňa's group and started to train with coach Dalibor Kupka in the same club. In 2002 he managed to win both European Indoor Championships in Vienna and European Championships in Munich. In 2004 in Athens he finally managed to win the Olympic Games, reaching 8,893 points and thus beating the 20-year-old Olympic record set by the British decathlete Daley Thompson in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.[8] After the victory in Athens, the Czech minister of defence promoted him to the rank of major.[9]

Šebrle’s best World Championships results were gold in 2007 (Osaka) and silver in 2003 (Paris) and 2005 (Helsinki). He was also successful at the World Indoor Championships in heptathlon, taking gold in 2001 (Edmonton) and 2004 (Budapest, beating the European record with 6,438 points) and bronze in 1999 (Maebashi), 2003 (Birmingham) and 2006 (Moscow). In 2005 he won the European Indoor Championships in heptathlon (Madrid), in 2006 the European Championships in decathlon for the second time (Gothenburg) and in 2007 he managed to get his third European indoor gold (Birmingham).[7] The sum of his personal bests in individual disciplines is 9,326 points (the third ever best after Dan O'Brien and Mike Smith).[10] He is the only decathlete who finished 40 decathlon competitions with the score over 8,000 points and 20 competitions with the score over 8,500 points (as of October 2007).[11] Šebrle was also voted the Best Czech Athlete of the Year five times in a row (2001-2006),[12] and in 2004 he received the title of the Czech Sportsman of the Year.[13]

Javelin injury

On 22 January 2007, Šebrle was injured by a javelin thrown by a South African female javelin thrower, Sunette Viljoen, from a distance of 55 metres while training in Potchefstroom, South Africa. The javelin pierced the edge of his right shoulder from the front, 12 cm deep. Shocked, Šebrle ripped the javelin out immediately, which could have caused even more damage. Luckily for him, it did not cause any serious injury, because it slipped between a muscle and his skin. He was taken to a hospital, but left soon with just eleven stitches. However, he was limited in training for some time, especially in the pole vault. Later he stated that he was only 20 cm away from being killed and 1 cm from an injury that would have ended his career.[14] [15] [16]

Personal Bests

Event Performance Note Place Date Ref.
60 metres 6.91 Indoor Talinn 7 February 1999 [17] [18]
100 metres 10.64
Wind 1.3 m/s
0 m/s
3 June 2000
26 May 2001
[7] [19]
200 metres 21.74 Wind 1.4 m/s Prague 7 August 2004 [7]
300 metres 35.12 Prague 13 June 2005 [7]
400 metres 47.76 Götzis 29 May 1999 [7] [19]
1,000 metres 2:37.86 Indoor Lisbon 11 March 2001 [17]
1,500 metres 4:21.98 Götzis 27 May 2001 [7] [19]
60 metres hurdles 7.84 Indoor Prague 2001 [17]
110 metres hurdles 13.68 Halle 20 May 2001 [19]
High jump 2.15 Götzis 3 June 2000 [7] [19]
Pole vault 5.20 Turnov 18 May 2003 [7] [19]
Long jump 8.11 Wind 1.9 m/s Götzis 26 May 2001 [7][19]
Shot put 16.47 Kladno 19 June 2007 [7][19]
Discus throw 49.37 Turnov 18 May 2003 [7][19]
Javelin throw 71.18 Osaka 1 September 2007 [7][19]
Decathlon 9026 World Record Götzis 27 May 2001 [7] [19]
Heptathlon 6438 European Record Budapest 7 March 2004 [19]


  1. The World's Greatest Athlete?
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 My Biography. Roman Šebrle's homepage. Retrieved on 2007-09-02. (Czech)
  3. "Svatby celebrit",, Ringier, iABC, Reflex, Sport, Televize. Retrieved on 2007-09-02. (Czech)
  4. My family. Roman Šebrle's homepage. Retrieved on 2007-09-02. (Czech)
  5. "Major Šebrle ready to fire!". Ministry of Defense of the Czech Rep.. Retrieved on 2007-03-17.
  6. Interview with Šebrle. Retrieved on 2007-03-17. (Czech)
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 Biography:Roman Šebrle. IAAF. Retrieved on 2007-09-01.
  8. Roman Šebrle's profile. Retrieved on 2007-03-01.
  9. Kühnl promoted Šebrle to Major. Retrieved on 2007-03-17. (Czech)
  10. Total points based on personal bests. Decathlon'2000 site. Retrieved on 2007-09-01.
  11. Roman Šebrle. Decathlon 2000 (25 September 2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-21.
  12. Winners of the Best Athletes of the Year. ABC Prague. Retrieved on 2007-03-01.
  13. Winners of the Czech Sportsman of the Year. Klub sportovních novinářů ČR. Retrieved on 2007-03-01. (Czech)
  14. Lucky to be alive. BBC Sport. Retrieved on 2007-02-28.
  15. Speared decathlon champion Sebrle '20cm from death'. Yahoo Sport. Retrieved on 2007-03-01.
  16. Šebrle's shoulder decorated with 11 stitches. Retrieved on 2007-04-01. (includes photo, text in Czech)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "Šebrle's Golden Era Continues". Sport.Aktuálně.cz. Retrieved on 2007-09-01. (Czech)
  18. Results 01 - 28 February 1999. Decathlon 2000. Retrieved on 2007-09-02.
  19. 19.00 19.01 19.02 19.03 19.04 19.05 19.06 19.07 19.08 19.09 19.10 19.11

External links