Vera Caslavska: The Unlikely Hero of the 1968 Olympics

Martina Navratilova remembered Vera Caslavska, who won the gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics after being thrown out of Czechoslovakia ahead of the competition. Caslavska, born in 1942, won 22 international titles including 11 European championships, four world titles, and seven Olympic gold medals. She opposed the 1968 Soviet invasion and fled to the countryside, losing her training facilities. Despite this, she continued training and won the gold medal against all odds. Martina Navratilova, a tennis legend from Prague, fled Czechoslovakia due to the country’s totalitarian government and became a tennis star in the US, winning 59 Major titles. She expressed her regrets about leaving her home nation during an interview, saying it ruined something beautiful in her life. Both women faced similar challenges, and Navratilova admired Caslavska’s contributions as a “hero.”