Jiří Ježek lost his right leg below the knee at 11 when a truck hit him as he was crossing the street. As Jiří stated in an interview for We Love Cycling some years ago, the accident was a wakeup call to achieve his dream of becoming a professional athlete – he claims that the experience strengthened him and shaped him as a person. He started pushing his limits and by the age of 20, he was doing competitive cycling as a hobby. After five years of hard training, Ježek began to emerge as one of the world’s top cyclists riding in the Paralympic LC2 category. His first major success were two gold medals at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney that brought him, alongside his charming character and determination, the attention of sponsors, which allowed him to leave his job as a prosthetics technician and begin a professional cycling career.
He then went on to win the two gold medals in Athens in 2004, two gold medals at the Paralympic Games in Beijing 2008, another gold in London 2012, and several other championships and numerous races. He’s also the former captain of the Czech National Paralympic Team. When he was still racing professionally, taking on pro able-bodied riders was no exception and he used to attend anywhere between 55 and 75 races a year, averaging 27-30 thousand kilometres in the saddle including training. In 2008, he wrote his autobiography entitled “Frajer”. On 14 October 2017, aged 43, Ježek announced his retirement from professional cycling, but still remains an active rider, cycling coach and one of the most noticeable Škoda cycling ambassadors, and is regularly involved in motivational speeches, supports charities, organises children’s cycle races and advises on the development of prosthetic limbs.
Expect a refreshing perspective, a big dose of motivation, hard work and honesty, insights into the para-cycling scene and more this Wednesday 1st July, at 6 PM CET on our IG TV.
You can catch up with the seventh #Ride2Unite stream with Belgian Philippe Gilbert, the ‘King of the Classics’, above.