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Vera Caslavska Passes Away

The Gymnastics world lost a legend on Wednesday.

 Czech gymnast, Olympic medalist and political activist, Vera Caslavska passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 74.

She's one of only two women to win back to back all-around Olympic titles, in 1964 and 1968. Besides her gymnastics, Vera was revered for her political activism. Due to her activism in the Prague Spring, a democratization effort following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Due to her involvement in the movement, Vera was forced to flee and train in exile prior to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

During the Olympic Games in Mexico City, Vera made her most public display of dissent towards the increasing threat of communist invasion when she silently protested during the playing of the Soviet anthem. After placing second on beam to Soviet gymnast, Natalia Kuchiskaya and mysteriously tying for gold with Larisa Petrik after Petrik's score was mysteriously raised on floor.  During the playing of the Soviet anthem, Vera silently held her head down and to the side for protest.

While she was revered among her compatriots, she was persona non grata as far as her government was concerned. She was forced into retirement and couldn't travel or coach.  When communism fell in 1989, she was able to completely rejoin the gymnastics community.

Vera is a gymnastics legend for her beautiful athleticism, her activism and that awesome beehive hairdo that never moved.
Still perfect. Boom.

May she be an inspiration to young women in and out of the gymnastics community for her dedication and activism.

Rest in Peace.

Gymnast Profiles: Vera Caslavska
Gymnastics Biggest Bad Asses

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