“The year 1968 was such an experience that during the preparations for Olympics in Mexico in Šumperk we suddenly didn't know whether we would attend the games or not. There was invasion and in Šumperk I met with Polish soldiers, the tanks came and the whole city was turned upside down. We stopped training, Věrka left away, no one knew where and we waited what would happen next. In the end we said we couldn't give up so easily and we began training again. We were hoping to attend the Olympics at last. We received the permission, since even the countries that occupied us were allowed to attend it. Mexicans didn't want to issue them visas at first, but this way we would have been harmed too, so finally they permitted it. Thus we went to Mexico and I shall never forget what happened as we entered the Estadio Azteca with a banner Czechoslovakia. The crowd on the whole tribune stood up and began applauding as to manifest their solidarity towards us. Those were really very strong moments in my life.”
“It is the fact that Věra signed the 2000 Words Manifesto and thus it wasn't obvious if she'd be allowed to attend the Olympics. The communist regime wanted her to take it back, but she was a great patriot, very righteous, feeling hatred for injustice. Therefore she also fought against it in the political sphere. I didn't know she was so politically involved. We just used to train and not be interested in politics, but Věra, she was different. Our performance at the Olympic Games was at risk. However, the whole world already knew she was about to get married there and that was an event, which even our political management could not let fail. She went to defend her gold medal from Tokio, so at last, under very uneasy circumstances we travelled. Although, Věra was still being monitored.”
“What I really loved about gymnastics was the travelling, the competing. Of course, our regime allowed that only to sportsmen, more or less. When we went on a contest, we could travel even to the capitalistic states, although, meanwhile we had to attend various instruction meetings. The travelling was giving me joy. I was attracted to go out, see things I read about in books, to see Rotterdam, Paris, Fiji in Japan, and so on… I wanted to see it in person and it was the gymnastics that helped me to see the whole world.”
Only by hard work, ambitiousness, and perseverance it is possible to successfully achieve one‘ goal
Marianna Némethová, née Krajčírová, was born on June 1, 1948 in Košice. Despite of serious health problems she faced in childhood, her parents had always inculcated love to sport in her. Her father, a professional soldier was a couch and a former gymnast and her mother was engaged in figure skating and table tennis. Due to the father‘s job the family had to move several times, thus Marianna and her sister Dagmar spent part of their childhood also in Czech. They settled in Bratislava in 1957. Her school years were filled with active trainings and travelling, as since being nine years old, she has been fully devoted to sport gymnastics. Yet in 1964 as a 16-year old girl she became a part of the Czechoslovak representation in Tokio Summer Olympics, and in team competitions she succeeded also in the two following Olympics (1968 in Mexico City and in 1972 in Munich). She‘s been a holder of a title Slovak Gymnast of the 20th Century and in addition to many sports awards, she has six medals from the major competitions in her collection. After finishing her active sport career in 1972 she became a professional coach, whereas besides her work she completed a study at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport at Comenius University in Bratislava. After the fall of the communist regime she worked as a coach in Italy, where she moved over from the top level sport to the amateur one. Currently she lives in Bratislava, devotes herself to youth and enjoys her daughter and granddaughters, who are also engaged in gymnastics.