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Barbora Spotáková is an athlete competing in track and field at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the Czech Republic, making her Olympic appearance at the Games, where she figures to contend for gold in the women's javelin. She is the reigning Olympic champion and world-record holder in the event.

After a solid but unspectacular start to the 2011 season, one which included just one Diamond League victory and just two throws over 66 meters, Spotáková came up big in a duel with Russia's Maria Abakumova at the world Championships in Daegu. Spotáková threw down the gauntlet with an opening throw of 68.80m/225-8, but Abakumova topped it in the second round with a 71.25m/233-9 heave. That mark stood as the leader until the final round when Spotáková launched the spear 71.58m/234-10. Abakumova answered on her last throw, which sailed 71.99m/236-2 for the gold. Spotáková's silver was her second straight at Worlds since winning the 2007 title in Osaka.

Spotáková rebounded from the disappointing end to her 2009 season with a solid showing during 2010. The highlights included a victory in the inaugural Diamond League javelin series, forged on the strength of victories in London, Monaco, and Rome and runner-up finishes in Doha and Zurich. Her best mark of the year came at the Golden Gala in Rome where she won at 68.66m/225-3, the fifth-best effort of her career.

In 2009, Spotáková went to the World Championships in Berlin as the heavy favorite to repeat as champion. But it became apparent early that a second straight victory was probably not in the cards. During the qualifying round, Spotáková struggled to a fourth-place finish and afterward needed treatment for an injury to her right throwing elbow. In the final, Spotáková competed through the pain and managed a best throw of 66.42m/217-11, good for second place behind Steffi Nerius of Germany (67.30m/220-9). "It was particularly painful during my final throw when I really put everything into it - but that throw went up into the skies, instead of going straight," Spotáková explained to Czech television afterward. "It was a big pity, but my elbow will be fine. Every medal at a World Championships is wonderful, so I'm as happy as I possibly could be. The competition didn't go exactly as I thought it would, but that's the nicest thing about sport - it's different every time. You can't make predictions at all."

Fresh off her breakout 2007 campaign, Spotáková entered the Olympic year in 2008 and quickly established herself as the thrower to beat. And she wasn't beaten often, winning 12 of 15 competitions with two runner-up finishes. When the stakes were highest, Spotáková was at her best. At the Beijing Games, she was first in qualifying but trailed going into the final round until unloading an effort of 71.42m/234-4 on her sixth throw, clinching the gold and establishing a new European record. She capped the season a few weeks later at the World Athletics Final by shattering the world record in the event with her winning throw of 72.28m/237-1.

Although Spotáková emerged from the 2007 season with the two biggest prizes, she hardly headed into the Olympic year feeling like an overwhelming favorite. That is because Germany's Christina Obergfoll beat Spotáková four times in six head-to-head meetings, and had the best throw in the world (70.20m/230-4) and the best series of throws in the world on the year, with her shortest mark registering at 62.45m/204-11.

While Spotáková was beaten six times during 2007, there was nobody better in a big spot at a big meet than she was. She showed that prowess under pressure at the World Championships in Osaka, where she set a Czech national record at 66.39m/217-10 in the first round and then upping it to 67.05m/220-0 in the third round to secure gold. Spotáková broke that record again at the World Athletics Final, where she won with a throw of 67.10m/220-2.

Spotáková made her Olympic debut in the javelin in Athens in 2004. Not unexpectedly, she struggled to a 23rd-place finish. But she said the experience was incredibly valuable, especially getting to watch fellow Czech Nikola Brejchova win the silver medal.

Spotáková competed for one season at the University of Minnesota, where she captured All-America honors in 2002 in the javelin and competed at the NCAA Championships in the heptathlon. Shortly after leaving Minnesota, she decided to give up training for the heptathlon and specialize in the javelin. She remains on the Gophers' top-10 lists in both events, ranking fourth in the javelin (176-8) and second in the heptathlon (5,400).

Spotáková did not begin competing in the javelin at the start of her career, although it was one of her stronger disciplines. She made her international debut as a heptathlete, finishing fourth at the 2000 World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile with a score of 5,689 points.

Like many elite athletes in the Czech Republic, Spotáková is a member of the ASO (Armandi Sportovni Oddil) TJ Dukla Praha Army Sport Group. The club, which also trains decathlon world record holder Roman Sebrle, shares a name with a famous soccer club in the country. While the club used to be inclusive of all sports, the soccer group is no longer under patronage of the Czech army.

When she was growing up, Spotáková said she always wanted to be an animal doctor. Not surprisingly, she also thinks that the greatest invention ever was antibiotics. When she is not competing, Spotáková says that her guiltiest pleasure is beer.


How tall is Barbora Špotáková? How old is Barbora Špotáková? Where does Barbora Špotáková live? Find out here.

Age: 35 years old
Birthday: June 30, 1981
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 176 lbs.
Birthplace: Jablonec and Nisou, Czech Republic
Current Residence: Prague, Czech Republic

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