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Vera Caslavska

Vera Caslavska
Mexico City, October 1968. Portrait of Czechoslovakian gymnast Vera CASLAVSKA who won five medals (3 gold and 2 silver) at the Games of the XVIII Olympiad. Credit: IOC Olympic Museum Collections

Born: 3 May 1942

Birthplace: Praha (Czech Republic)

Nationality: Czech Republic

Sport: Gymnastics

ATTENDANCE AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES

Rome 1960

Tokyo 1964

Mexico 1968

AWARDS

Olympic medals:

Gold: 7

Silver: 4

Other results:

World Championships

Gold: 4 (62, 66)

Silver: 5 (58, 62, 66)

Bronze: 1 (62)

The Heroine of Mexico City

After winning three gold medals and one silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Games, Vera Caslavska was the favourite to repeat her success in 1968. In April she had signed the "Manifesto of 2000 Words," which rejected Soviet involvement in Czechoslovakia. Two months before the Olympics, Soviet tanks rolled into Prague. Warned by friends that she was in danger of being arrested, Caslavska fled to the mountains. In hiding, she kept in shape by swinging from tree limbs and practicing her floor exercise in a meadow. After three weeks, the government allowed her to join the rest of the team in Mexico City. There Caslavska successfully defended her all-around and vault titles and added two more gold medals and two silvers. Hugely popular with Mexican fans, she added to her popularity by marrying fellow Olympian Josef Odlozil in a ceremony in Mexico City. After the fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia, Caslavska served as president of the Czech Olympic Committee and, later, as a member of the International Olympic Committee.

(Credit: IOC. Click here for further information.)

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