Vera Caslavska was a Czechoslovakian artistic gymnastics athlete, the first female gymnast to receive a perfect 10 at the European championships 9 years before Nadia Comaneci at the 1976 Olympics.
Věra Čáslavská won 22 international titles in competitions from 1959 to 1968. She has 7 Olympic gold medals, 4 artistic gymnastics world championships and 11 European championships. With Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina, she is one of the only 2 female gymnasts who have won the all-around gold medal at consecutive Olympic Games.
Her most important gymnastics results are:
1958 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships (her first international competition): 1 silver - team final
1959 European Championships: 1 gold - vault; 1 silver - balance beam
1960 Olympics - Rome: 1 silver - team final
1961 Europeans: 1 bronze - all around
1962 Worlds: 1 gold - vault; 1 silver - all around
1964 Olympics - Tokyo: 3 golds - all around, vault, balance beam; 1 silver - team final
1965 Europeans: 5 golds - all around, vault, uneven bars, balance beam, floor
1966 Worlds: 3 golds - team final, all around, vault
1967 Europeans (she was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10, 9 years before Nadia Comaneci): 5 golds - all around, vault, uneven bars, balance beam, floor
1968 Olympics - Mexico: 4 golds - all around, vault, uneven bars, floor; 2 silvers - team final, balance beam
2 months before the 1968 Olympic Games, due to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Vera lost her training facilities and was forced to train in precarious conditions in the forest. In spite of this setback, she manage to dominate at the 1968 Olympics. Her Mexican floor music and her marriage in Mexico city during the games made her hugely popular in Mexico. Caslavska had openly opposed the Soviet invasion of her country. When she won gold with Soviet gymnast Larisa Petrik, she quietly protested on the podium, while they played the Soviet anthem by turning her head down.
Due to her public opposition of the Soviet invasion, she was forced to retire in 1968 and she was considered persona non grata in her own country until the fall of communism in 1989 when she was again given the honors she deserved. Vera Caslavska died in August 2016.
Other gymnastics videos you might like:
- Andreea Raducan gymnastics tribute: https://youtu.be/RTVsv4ZM15s
- Canon in D Major (composed by Johann Pachelbel) (performed by Kevin MacLeod)
Canon in D Major by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
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