BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Prominent Czech gymnast and regular Olympic medalist Vera Caslavska has died at age of 74.
Caslavska who won seven Olympic golds and four silvers between 1960 and 1968 died after a failed battle with pancreatic cancer.
The late gymnast was one of five women to win four golds in one Games, with American gymnast Simone Biles – the most recent to attain the same feat in Rio.
Caslavska who was a vocal critic of the Soviet Union, was forced into hiding in 1968 after signing a document calling for political reforms.
After retiring from gymnastics, Caslavska served as President of the Czech Olympic Committee (COC); won the Pierre de Coubertin Prize for promoting fair play in 1989 and was also awarded the Olympic Order.
Her achievements in winning four golds at Mexico put her in exalted company, alongside Biles, Agnes Keleti and Larisa Latynina for Hungary and the Soviet Union respectively in 1956 and Romania’s Ekaterina Szabo in 1984.
Reacting to her passage, COC President Jiri Kejval, described Caslavska as a “a fighter” as well as declared she “died in her sleep”.