The talented blonde bombshell dominated at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. She garnered gold for the uneven bars, floor exercise, vault, and individual all-round, a crowning moment of her career. One could easily spot her with her signature bouffant updo stealing the hearts of Mexico while performing her floor routine to the “Mexican Hat Dance.” An eruption of applause greeted her golden performance. During a late scoring change, however, she had to share the podium with Soviet gymnast Larisa Petrik. An opponent of the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, Věra looked down during the playing of the Soviet national anthem. Věra, a heroine of the Olympic Games, was named the best athlete in the world, but at home her act of courage dubbed her a persona non grata to the regime. She was forced into retirement. In regards to her act of bravery and moral responsibility she said, “We, Olympians, were the only ones who could demonstrate our attitude to the Soviet occupation to the world at that time of occupation.” Despite her trials and tribulations, she remains the only gymnast in the world to have won Olympic gold in every individual gymnastics event.
Photo courtesy of the Czech Olympic Committee