“They couldn’t at all. My brother couldn’t, Mum couldn’t, Dad couldn’t travel abroad, it wasn’t possible. So I always wanted - Mum would say, you dress the whole family and bring only some trifle for yourself. Back then we didn’t have chewing gums here. I brought the first flat chewing gums home, my brother was in shock. He said: ‘Jesus, that’s a normal thing there?’ Young people today couldn’t imagine what it meant, we have everything here now. I always wanted a piece of America or Japan, something that’s typical, to take home. So they’d see what I saw. I remember when I first saw a kiwi, I don’t know if it was in America or in Japan. I looked at it, how it was eaten, it was fuzzy. I took the kiwi and brought it home, it was completely soft by then. But no one knew about it here. I took the kiwi home from America because I was sad that they couldn’t be there with me. That they couldn’t see it and I could.”
“I was the team captain, and the captain is the captain for they boys as well. Either a boy is the captain, or a girl. There are seven boys, the coach, seven girls. So I was the captain that time. I said: ‘Come on, guys, into the bus.’ The coach just gave [me] a look. And the boy said: ‘Alča, I’m staying here.’ I said: ‘You’re ill?’ Him: ‘No, I’m not ill.’ Me: What do you mean, staying?’ Him: ‘Well, I’m not coming home.’ I said: ‘Hold on, what do you mean, not coming home?’ He said: ‘I’m not telling the coach any more, I’m just staying at the hotel and I’m not going to the meet with you.’ I said: ‘You’re kidding.’ So pretty much, I took a hammering for it back then because it was my task to get everyone to the start. And now, twenty years later, he apologised to me for getting me into a really difficult situation, because when we arrived I as the captain had to explain the matter to the whole union and the management. Why I wasn’t able, like, to force that boy to come to the meet. I said: ‘What was I to do?’ Then the coach took my side, of course. He said: ‘What was the girl supposed to do with him? He just took his things and left the hotel.’”
“Then we were in Romania, and I saw that the girls didn’t even get water. How the coach beat them! We also got our asses spanked pretty hard by the coach. Nowadays, when you touch someone... I teach football players at school, I have sports classes. The other day, I pulled one of them by the shoulder like this, and he said he’d complain about me. If someone had seen [the beatings] I’d got from my [female] coach, who trained me in Ostrava. On my legs, on my butt. I’d come home, and I’d have five toes on my foot, and I’d keep my back turned to Mum so she wouldn’t see it because I knew that I’d get an extra helping. Children today don’t know what that is. They’re all spoilt, chasing after money, but not willing to work for it.”
Alena Dřevjaná-Coufalová was born on July 4, 1969 in Opava into the family of an entrepreneur and a warehouse worker. In her first year of primary school she was selected for the gymnastics club in Bohumín. With her exceptional talent, she was sent to a training centre at the age of ten. There, she lived at a dormitory under the supervision of governesses and only came home to her parents on Sundays. From year eight onward she stayed at the professional sports centre in Nymburk. A member of the national team, she became one of the most successful female gymnasts of her generation. She won a total of one hundred-and-sixty-four medals from both world and European championships. At the peak of her career she took home an Olympics qualifying medal from the United States. She was expected to repeat this success at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, this never happened due to the Soviet‘s boycott of the Olympics. Although she had no interest in politics, she became a victim of a political ploy, which barred her from achieving the success that she had merited with her many years of hard work. Since finishing her career she has worked as a coach.