European Athletics is very saddened to hear that Helena Fuchsova has died at the age of 55 after a long illness.
Fuchsova won three medals for the Czech Republic at the European Championships and was one of the most successful 400/800m runners in the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Fuchsova won a silver medal in the 400m at the 1998 European Athletics Championships in a lifetime best of 50.21 as well as bronze medals in the 400m at the 1998 and 2000 European Indoor Championships. She also won a bronze medal in the same event at the 1997 World Indoor Championships in Paris.
But Fuchsova is perhaps best known for leading the 2000 Olympic 800m final in Sydney through the bell in a fast 55.04. She was credited with a fifth-place finish as well as a lifetime best of 1:58.56 at the age of 35, although her outright lifetime best of 1:58.37 was set indoors in Lievin in 2001.
Fuchsova was also a key part of the Czech Republic’s 4x400m team in the mid-to-late 1990s. She competed in five world and Olympic finals in the 4x400m relay and was part of the Czech Republic’s silver medal-winning team at the 1995 World Indoor Championships.
Her last major medal came six years later when she won bronze in the 800m at the 2001 World Indoor Championships in Lisbon. She retired from competitive athletics in 2004 to become a fitness trainer, working with athletes across a range of sports, including two-time world 400m hurdles champion Zuzana Hejnova.
Hejnova paid tribute to Fuchsova on her Facebook page. She wrote: "Every time I remember you, I will smile. You were the most cheerful and positive person I was honoured to meet. You have taught me so much and passed on so much experience. RIP Helena."