Czech Scientist, Who Developed Programs for Trackmen, Defects

Associated Press

A leading Czechoslavakian sports scientist, who defected with the help of U.S. Olympic hammer thrower Ed Burke, arrived here with his family Wednesday night, saying, “America promises me a possibility to better use my abilities.”

Ladislav Pataki, 38, his wife Gisela, 36, and their daughter Noemi, 16, landed here after flying from Rome, where U.S. Embassy officials gave him the go-ahead to come to the United States.

Burke, who carried the U.S. flag in the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Olympic Games, greeted Pataki and his family at the airport. Pataki brushed tears from his eyes as Burke embraced him.

Pataki, who developed scientific training programs for track and field athletes, and his family will stay with another Czechoslavakian defector, Jena Hubacz, in her Almaden Valley home for a short time. The Patakis will then move to an anonymously donated townhouse in Los Gatos, near Burke’s home.

Pataki said he decided to come to America three years ago because “America promises me a possibility to better use my abilities and those of my daughter and my wife. . . . If I work hard here, and I learn, I will be a success.”


Burke, who said that Pataki is writing a book about his ideas on athletic training, said he expects that Pataki will help America’s Olympic efforts.