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Ondrej Nepela
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-L1129-0018, Ondrej Nepela.jpg
Nepela in 1972
Personal information
Country represented:  Czechoslovakia
Date of birth: January 22, 1951(1951-01-22)
Date of death: February 2, 1989 (aged 38)
Former coach: Hilda Múdra
Retired: 1973
Olympic medal record
Figure skating
Competitor for  Czechoslovakia
Gold 1972 Sapporo Men's singles

Ondrej Nepela (January 22, 1951 in Bratislava, Slovakia – February 2, 1989 in Mannheim, Germany) was an Olympic gold medalist and three-time World champion Slovak figure skater who competed for Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s and early 1970s.


Nepela began skating at age 7. 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 five the European Figure Skating Championships five times between 1969 to 1973; the World Figure Skating 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 Figure Skating Championships were to be held in his home town of Bratislava. In his second autobiography, Toller Cranston details a sexual tryst between himself and Nepela at 1973 World Championships.[1] Cranston was distracted and affected by their sexual affair and placed 5th while Nepela won the event and even earned a 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 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 Slovakian athlete of the century. His former coach, Mudra, received the award on his behalf.

Competitive highlights

Event/Season 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973
Winter Olympics 22nd 8th 1st
World Championships 17th 8th 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st
European Championships 8th 3rd 3rd 3rd 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st


  1. ^ Cranston, Toller; Martha Lowder Kimball (2000). When Hell Freezes Over: Should I Bring My Skates?. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 0771023375.  


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