Divine Olympic ride: Oxygen mask and then silver medal

In his favorite restaurant in Kohoutovice in Brno, he steps so energetically that you can hardly keep up with him. “Come sit in the corner and see the outside,” says Karol Divin.

Even though the view broke a misty window and persistent rain, it did not take it. On Monday, one of the most successful figure skaters of the Czechoslovak history of the 80th will celebrate. “It’s very nice, I would even say it’s a nice feeling!” Emphasizes Divin. “Only one well-known doctor, who is already over eighty, warned me:” It’s up to eighty but then watch out! “” Laughs a vital guy. “

New surname after the war

Now living in Brno with his wife Mirka, it is a little miracle.Divin was born in Budapest, father was Hungarian with German roots, grandmother came from Slovakia, mother from Pilsen. It was there that the family experienced the end of the Second World War. Or she’s survived, it’s a more appropriate word. “The Americans bombed the Škodovka, and one of the bombs fell near us, about 50 meters,” Divin describes.

Then he had the last name Finster. “Post-war moods were a lot of anti-German for natural reasons. His father was afraid that he would be in trouble, but he remembered that his grandmother was divine. “

Little Karol did not understand this change, he had other thoughts. The family headed for Bratislava and he spent every free time on a soccer ball or tennis court.But Father Antonin, who was a figure skeleton coach, had different intentions with his offspring. “He saw some movement potential in me, and he wanted to keep skating,” Divina says.

Soon he realized he was deliberately avoiding duels and playing hard. A stronger right in which he was holding a tennis racket, he again made it difficult to jump on ice.

Figure skating has won. “Moreover, the first successes in the form of the Republican champion came, which encouraged me,” recalls the Czechoslovak representative. “Beer no, you would have heavy legs!”

The first big medal was won by Divin as an 18-year-old talent in 1954 at the European Championship, he was third.Four years later, the continental championship dominated, making it definitely a world class leader.

Wounded for television

About the top of the career – the Winter Olympics in the US Squaw Valley in 1960 – but the Divin, which was already being prepared by Ivan Mauer, almost came. “We went to a pre-conditioning session in Tater.In Poprad, where we skated, a cameraman and director arrived behind me and wanted to shoot a triple rittberger, “reminds Divin.

The most challenging element, which was dominated by only elite racers, jumped twice bravurally. But the staff insisted on showing him again. “It was the end of the training, I did not want to, but I let myself be convinced,” the figure skater says.

When he jumped, he grabbed the middle gluteus muscle. Due to the injury, he had to omit the European Championship, and the Squaw Valley was also at risk. The officials of the Czechoslovak Union of Physical Education invited the Divina a few days before the departure of the Olympic Games.Perhaps he would not have sat on the plane if he had not said the following sentence: “Gentlemen, I will do everything to finish the race, and you did not send me in vain.”

His second Olympics really went. “It was also a good luck that the men’s race went to the end of the game. I had almost three weeks to get another acclimatization, “he describes. Although the injured muscle still felt, the judges were intrigued by the precise exercises that had not been part of the figure skating since 1990.Divin sensed that life success was within reach. “I do not want to compare it nicely, but to get any Olympic medal, it’s like winning a little grandslam,” he does not deny tennis beginnings. Although he could not fit into the triple rattlesnake in his free ride, he made his best. “I was completely exhausted at the end,” says the figure skater. “I was leaning forward and gasping. When I slipped to the mantinel, they put on my oxygen mask. “When he was better, he waited for scores of minutes for the results of the pre-flood computer, big as a bus that had come up with timely documents. The most important thing was: 2nd place Karol Divín.

He became a Czechoslovak figure skating legend.Ondrej Nepela, Hana Maskova, Jozef Sabovcik and Petr Barna are the only ones to celebrate the Olympic medal.

Just for the bronze achievements of Sabovcik from Sarajevo 1984 and Barny of Albertville 1992, Divin, who after a successful career on coaching. “They had their own coach, but I was considered an expert on the mandatory ride. That’s why I worked with them, “explains the man who has a total of ten medals from European and world championships. “I did most of the time,” he says. “

Long years in Canada

years after the end of his career he married former figure skater Olga Reinišová and in 1964 moved to Brno.But he did not spend much time in it. “My union allowed me to go train to Canada between 1965 and 1968. At that time, our first son, who lives there, was born to us. He already has a family and four children, “says the proud father. The younger daughter lives with her family in New York.

On the second Canadian mission, Divin set out in the 1980s. He was involved in the preparation of the later world champion Brian Orsera. His overseas stay stretched back to 2001. But home he had a vision of common moments with his second wife Mirek, who was also retiring.

That Brno would exchange Divin permanently for Canada? It just shakes his head. “I see no difference now. You have to work and earn yourself.In Canada, it also works so that the coach has to move, to show something to the extent possible, and not only to be leaning on the mantinel and to tell the child to do it again. “

At the age of 65, he did not even want to strain his an artificial joint and returned to the Czech Republic. She and her wife are now retired. “I did not need my whole life in Croatia or in the southern seas, where we go every year. We also have a chat in the Kunstat region when it’s hot, we spend time there. “

Instead of a racing career, now, on the hot summer days, we’ll have a beer that was docked earlier. “I like to be thirsty,” nods a successful representative, who even after returning to Brno did not leave the figure skating.He was asked for his consultation and assistance by his former envoy, Rudolf Brezin.

Divin helped his son Michal in junior times. “When he was about twelve, he jumped double axes. After a while, I knew he was a great talent. “The current Czech first, the ex-champion of Europe Tomáš Verner and Ondřej Hotárek and less than three thousand spectators came to the exhibition at the beginning of February to worship the Divine for his jubilee. Dojá legenda at the DRFG in Brno just said, “It’s incredible how many people came to look at the old grandfather.” “I do not know if it was good or bad,” he says with a distance.

“No, no, it came to me natural – and especially human,” I assure him. I’m a grandfather, yeah.All grandchildren call me Grandfather Karol or Grandpa Karol, you will not be out of it. “