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1970 Czechoslovakia WAG

1970: An Interview with the Czechoslovak WAG Coaches before the World Championships

Between the Mexico City Olympics and the Ljubljana World Championships, the Czechoslovak coaching staff had changed. Luděk Martschini was coaching the Swiss women’s team, and long-time head coach Jaroslava Matlochová was coaching in Italy.

Alena Tintěrová was in charge of the women’s program in 1970, and at the training camp before the World Championships, each coach was responsible for a different event. Jaroslav Šťastný, for example, was responsible for floor, while Petr Kouba was responsible for bars.

Here’s what Tintěrová and the other coaches were thinking as they prepared the team for the World Championships in Ljubljana.

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1970 Czechoslovakia MAG WAG

1970: The Czechoslovak Championships

1970 was a time of change for the Czechoslovak women’s team. The majority of the gymnasts who won gold at the 1966 World Championships had retired, including Čáslavská. Several of their coaches had also left. Luděk Martschini was coaching the Swiss women’s team, and long-time head coach Jaroslava Matlochová was coaching in Italy.

For the Czechoslovak men, there was some optimism ahead of the World Championships in Ljubljana. After the team finished fourth at the Mexico City Olympics — just 0.05 behind the East Germans — there was some optimism. That said, the Czechoslovak team was going to put together a young, inexperienced team for the 1970 Worlds.

Here’s what was reported in the pages of Stadión after the 1970 Czechoslovak Championships.

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1948 1970 Czechoslovakia Interviews & Profiles WAG

1970: A Profile of Mother Zdena Honsová and Daughter Hana Lišková

Zdena Honsová was part of the Czechoslovak team that won gold at the 1948 Olympic Games. Had there been an all-around competition, Honsová would have won the gold medal in London. She was also part of the Czechoslovak team that took bronze at the 1954 Rome World Championships. (By then, she had married, and her surname was Lišková.)

Twenty years later, Honsová’s daughter, Hana Lišková, was part of the Czechoslovak team that won silver at the Mexico City Olympics and bronze at the Ljubljana World Championships. Her gym was so small that it could not fit a full-size floor exercise mat.

Here’s their story, as told by the Czechoslovak magazine Stadión.

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1967 Czechoslovakia Interviews & Profiles WAG

1967: A Profile of Marianna Krajčírová after Her Bronze Finish at Euros

Unlike much of the Czechoslovak team, Marianna Krajčírová was Slovak — not Czech. She was part of the 1964 Czechoslovak team in Tokyo, as well as the 1966 World Championships team that won gold. On a personal level, 1967 was her break-out year. At the 1967 European Championships, she finished third in the all-around and third on bars. Then, at the 1967 “Little Olympics” in Mexico City (essentially an Olympics Test Event), she finished second behind Soviet gymnast Natalia Kuchinskaya.

Here’s a 1967 profile from Stadión on Krajčírová, whose father built her a balance beam to train on at home. Plus, there’s a translation of a short interview with Krajčírová (Némethová at the time) from 1970.

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1967 Czechoslovakia WAG

1967: The Czechoslovak Championships in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics

No surprise: Věra Čáslavská won the Czechoslovak Championships in April ahead of the 1967 European Championships. The big news was that she had upgraded her routines, adding a front handspring to needle scale on beam, as well as a full-twisting hecht dismount from the upper rail on uneven bars.

Let’s take a look at what happened at the 1967 Czechoslovak Nationals.

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1966 Czechoslovakia Interviews & Profiles WAG

1966: A Profile of Jaroslava Matlochová, Czechoslovakia’s Head Coach

Jaroslava Matlochová was a fixture of the gymnastics community for decades — both as a coach and as a member of the Women’s Technical Committee. In fact, she was one of the early champions of relying on younger gymnasts in women’s artistic gymnastics. Yet, little has been written about her online.

So, here’s a translation of a profile on her, printed in Stadión just after the Czechoslovak women’s team took gold at the Dortmund World Championships.

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1966 Books Czechoslovakia MAG World Championships

1966: Czechoslovak Coverage of the Golden World Championships in Dortmund

At the 1966 World Championships, the Czechoslovak women’s team finally defeated the Soviet team, and Čáslavská won the all-around title, defeating Kuchinskaya, who reportedly stated before the competition, “I will share the medals with Čáslavská!”

Stadión, a Czechoslovak sports magazine, dedicated several pages to the competition. The article’s tone was blunt in places. It criticized the complacency of the Czechoslovak men’s team, as well as the judges during the women’s event finals and Villancher’s interventions in the judging.

Note: Berthe Villancher, the President of the Women’s Technical Committee, was known for her interventions. For example, she intervened during Čáslavská’s beam routine at the 1968 Olympics and during Tourischeva’s beam routine at the 1969 European Championships.

It also provided interesting tidbits of information. For example, there were spies at the competitions in Czechoslovakia before the World Championships; the Czechoslovak pianist may have been the key to victory; and the Czechoslovak gymnasts’ shoes were believed to have magical powers.

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1966 Czechoslovakia Interviews & Profiles WAG

1966: A Profile of Bohumila Řimnáčová

Bohumila Řimnáčová was a member of the Czechoslovak team that won gold at the 1966 World Championships, silver at the 1968 Olympic Games, and bronze at the 1970 World Championships. Injuries prevented her from competing at the 1964 Olympic Games.

The following profile, printed in Stadión before the Dortmund World Championships in 1966, traces Řimnáčová’s career that took off after she answered a newspaper ad. Like many Czech gymnasts from this era, she originally wanted to be a figure skater.

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1966 Czechoslovakia MAG Perfect 10 WAG

1966: Čáslavská Scores a 10.0 at the Czechoslovak Championships

With three months to go until the World Championships, the Czechoslovak women’s team looked strong at the national championships. Not only did Čáslavská score a 10.0 on floor, but they had seven gymnasts score a 76.00 or better in the all-around.

On the men’s side, there was much rumination about what went wrong in Tokyo. At the 1962 World Championships, the Czechoslovak men were third. At the 1964 Olympic Games, they dropped to sixth. Sotorník, the head coach of the team, even mentions his team’s work with a psychologist.

Here’s the coverage of the 1966 Czechoslovak Championships from the sports magazine Stadión.

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1966 Czechoslovakia WAG

1966: Coaching Women’s Gymnastics in Czechoslovakia

In 1966, the Czechoslovak women’s team won gold at the World Championships in Dortmund. But what was their training system like? Who were their main coaches? What improvements could be made?

This article, published in Stadión months before the World Championships, gives us a glimpse into how Czechoslovakia structured its elite training.