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Věra Čáslavská’s silent protest at 1968 Olympics recalled

Věra Čáslavská’s silent protest at 1968 Olympics recalled

Elation soon turned to disappointment for her and the nation when the judges revised the original score of Soviet gymnast Larisa Petrik, giving her joint first place.

Forced to share the podium with the Russian, Věra Čáslavská carried out a silent but pointed protest during the playing of the Soviet anthem, lowering her head and looking off to one side.

When Soviet tanks put a brutal end to the relative liberalisation of Czechoslovakia, Čáslavská went into hiding in the mountains, forced to train for the Olympic Games in far from ideal conditions.

But still she was punished for her protest against the Soviets by Czechoslovakia’s Communist authorities. She never bemoaned her fate, she told Czech Radio a year before her death in 2016.

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