With three titles in the bag, and her competitive year now over, Barbora Spotakova could describe the past few weeks in just one way. "This was a season that I could only dream about," she said.
It has been another week of celebration for the Czech javelin thrower as she returned home to more acclaim after winning the individual event at the IAAF Continental Cup. Her success in Marrakech helped Europe lift the overall title in brilliant style ahead of the Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
But if the clock is rewound to this time 12 months ago, Spotakova, 33, the world record-holder, was just on the way back after giving birth to son Janek in May last year.
Yet with it came the uncertainty of whether she could regain her past exploits which had brought Olympic and world gold.
But now she can reflect with joy on a summer where she became European champion for the first time with her throw of 64.41m in Zurich ahead of winning the Diamond Race and the Continental Cup.
If this was her comeback summer, who knows what will happen next?
As Spotakova said: "If somebody would have said to me before the season I would achieve all this, I would not be that sure. When I was pregnant, I imagined I would get back to a good level, but didn’t expect to be this strong.”
She was beaten just once during the whole season and then she was still in second with 62.89m at the Diamond League in Birmingham in August as Canada’s Elizabeth Gleadle won with 64.49m.
But her attention is already turned to next year and the chance to regain the world title after missing Moscow in 2013. She was the champion in Osaka in 2007 and has won two silvers since then, in Berlin in 2009 and Daegu in 2011.
Speaking to tn.nova.cz, Spotakova said: "Honestly now I have no motivation, but in November I…start to work. Again, I will work hard and want to win."
She is trained by fellow countryman and men’s world record-holder Jan Zelezny and she said: "I still wonder why I am so successful. But I guess it's because I stay healthy and listen to the manager and coaches."
And while Zelezny’s men’s world record of 96.48m will be entering its 19th year next summer, Spotakova’s 72.28m from Stuttgart will be in its seventh.
Can she break it again?
"With age, the chances decrease, but it is motivating," she said.
One of the great moments of the European Athletics Championships in Zurich was Spotakova going over to the crowd as she triumphed to cuddle her son.
But come next summer, baby talk might be quite common in the call room among the women javelin throwers because it is likely that Christina Obergfoll, the defending world champion, and Russia’s Maria Abakumova, the 2011 world champion, will both be back after missing this summer as they were pregnant.
"We will compete as three mothers," said Spotakova.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty images
photo Getty Images