Born in Bratislava (then in Czechoslovakia), Nepela began skating at age seven. He was coached by Hilda Múdra. His first major international competition, at age 13, was the 1964 Winter Olympics; he finished 22nd. He went on to win the European Championships five times between 1969 to 1973; the World Championships in 1971, 1972, and 1973; and the 1972 Winter Olympics. Nepela wanted to retire from competition after the 1972 season, but agreed to continue one more year because the 1973 World Championships were to be held in his home town of Bratislava.
In 1972 he was awarded the title of Merited Master of Sport of the USSR.
In his second autobiography, Toller Cranston (born April 20, 1949) details a sexual tryst between himself and Nepela at the 1973 World Championships. Cranston was distracted and affected by their sexual affair and placed fifth while Nepela won the event and even earned a perfect 6.0 during his free skate.
Following his amateur skating career, Nepela toured for 13 years as a soloist with Holiday on Ice. He then established himself as a coach in Germany. He coached Claudia Leistner to her European title in 1989.
Nepela died of AIDS-related complications in February 1989, at the age of 38. Since 1993, the Slovak Figure Skating Association has held a competition each fall called the Ondrej Nepela Memorial. In December 2000, the Slovak Republic named him Slovak athlete of the 20th century. His former coach, Hilda Múdra, received the award on his behalf.
@German Federal Archives. Rainer Mittelstädt, Toller Cranston,
Figure Skating: A HISTORY by James R. Hines
Paperback: 472 pages
Publisher: University of Illinois Press (February 20, 2006)
Amazon: Figure Skating: A HISTORY
"Figure skating", unique in its sublimely beautiful combination of technical precision, musicality, and interpretive elements, has undergone many dramatic developments since the only previous history of the sport was published in 1959. This exciting and information-packed new history by James R. Hines explains skating's many technical and artistic advances, its important figures, its intrigues and scandals, and the historical high points during its long evolution. Hines divides his history into three periods separated by the World Wars. In the first section, he follows functional and recreational ice skating through its evolution into national schools, culminating in the establishment of the International Skating Union and the ascendancy of an international style of skating. The second section explains the changes that occurred as the sport expanded into the form we recognize and enjoy today, and the final section shows how skating became increasingly athletic, imaginative, and intense following World War II, as the main focus turns to skaters themselves. The profiles include some 148 World and Olympic Champions as well as others who, in Dick Button's words, "left the sport better because they were in it." Beginning with mythological tales from twelfth- and thirteenth-century Scandinavians, Hines describes hundreds who have contributed to the sport. They include figure skating's patron saint Lydwina of Schiedam, whose late-fourteenth-century skating tumble has been documented in a woodcut; Ulrich Salchow and Axel Paulsen, who gave their names to distinctive jumps; Madge Syers, who entered and medaled at the previously all-male World Championships in 1902; and Sonja Henie, who took skating to the silver screen. The history ends with the 2002 skating season, when Maria Butyrskaya and Michelle Kwan commanded the most attention and an unfortunate judging decision rocked the pairs' competition, resulting in the adoption of a new judging system. Beyond the contributions of individual skaters, "Figure Skating" also traces the growth of competitions and show skating (professional and amateur), and discussions of relevant social, political, and ethical concerns that have affected the sport. Along with over seventy magnificent historical pictures spread throughout the book, a very special gallery features the picture of every world and Olympic champion. "Figure Skating" is an informative and inspiring resource, sure to be enjoyed by anyone who has ever skated recreationally or in competition as well as by the many fans who have this beautiful sport as spectators.
Zero Tollerance : An Intimate Memoir by the Man Who Revolutionized Figure Skating by Toller Cranston
Hardcover: 360 pages
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (October 25, 1997)
Amazon: Zero Tollerance : An Intimate Memoir by the Man Who Revolutionized Figure Skating
Toller Cranston is: six-time Canadian figure-skating champion, celebrity, costume designer, artist extraordinaire, broadcaster, choreographer of skating routines, raconteur, bon vivant, coach, world traveller, art collector, legend, and enigma. In 1976 he won Olympic bronze (so why did it feel like defeat?). This book tells the story of his life after those fateful games at Innsbruck.
The rise and fall of Toller’s first professional ice show is described in soul-searing detail. His subsequent triumphant tour of Europe as the Skater of the Century is recounted, in contrast, with wicked humour. There are vignettes here of his encounters with the rich and famous from Leonard Bernstein to Pierre Cardin and of his life among Europe’s aristocrats and bohemians. Toller has experienced the high life and the low. He has stayed in the most luxurious hotels, held court in palatial houses, sought seclusion in beautiful estates. But the hard times have taken their toll.
In the early 1990s a combination of circumstances, including a disastrous professional association with out-of-control American skater Christopher Bowman and a lawsuit that dragged on for years (ending in complete victory for Toller), led to a personal crisis from which recovery came slowly. But even in the blackest hours, Toller’s humour and creative powers never deserted him.
This generously illustrated book is an extraordinary self-portrait written by a uniquely gifted individual. Toller’s wit, insight, and delicious way with words will entertain and astound readers whether they are skating fans or not.
More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics
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