Dana Spálenská

* 1950

  • "We were going to discussion meetings, once we were invited to Jistebsko. There, people were supporting sledding, various questions were asked, one of the questions was what we wore in Innsbruck. It was no longer the best, not as nice as in Grenoble. Someone said that we had orange salopettes, orange was not very fashionable, and that we looked like sweepers. One lady, some old communist, got hold of it and wrote a letter, I'm talking about the National Front, where all these people met. She said it is not possible for someone to represent the republic and say dressing up is good for sweepers. She named me there and wrote that it was impossible for me to continue representing the republic. So, my father was very affected by it, he wanted to go to the city office in Jistebsko to discuss it there, that nothing like that was said, then he let it be. It was said to me that I couldn't represent, that I didn't speak well, even though I didn't say it. But it doesn't matter, I won't defend myself here, right. I already wanted to quit. It's no joke, you have a house, you're building a house, a child, work, cooking, ironing and everything possible. I'm such an optimist, it annoyed me for a while: 'That's how you enjoyed the writing,' I thought to myself, 'if you wanted to hurt me' - the woman. I probably knew the name too. But I don't know that anymore, I don't remember that anymore, it's been an awful long time."

  • "There was also a track in Mariánské Lázně, more like a bobsleigh track, but we sledders used to go there too. There was one bend, when they were taking the spa guests, they told them it was the bend of death. It was violent and, above all, very long. When you drove too fast, it dropped you and threw you up at the end. I didn't make it through, I fell out of the sled, no, I was holding the sled and I was riding face down on the ice guardrail. I had glasses, no cover. I tore my face off, I must have been unconscious for a while, I was lying there and I heard them calling me, 'Dana, Dana!'. They pulled me out, I was bleeding, they laid me down, they bent my head, then the blood, I started to suffocate. I broke away from them, they called an ambulance, the honking ambulance took me to the hospital. I know what it looks like at the surgery in Tanvald and everywhere else, crowds of people, they won't let anyone in front of them. I came there, I don't know what I looked like, people parted and made a way for me. I got to the door right away, the doctor said: 'I'm not going to give you an injection.' My nose was torn up. 'I'll just stitch it for you.' My mouth was swollen, here and there. I looked like Quasimodo, my nose was three times bigger, they made the worst part and they said: 'You will stay in bed for three days.' I say: 'I can't,' it was Saturday, 'we are going to the World Cup in Königssee on Monday.'"

  • "After the Olympics, we were invited to Dubček, who was up to sixth place. I have a photo, I don't know where it is. Mr. Raška was there with his wife, Hanka Mašková, the hockey players were there. I was eighteen years old, I looked stupid, I know that Dzurilla took care of me, looked after me. I don't remember exactly what we did at Dubček´s place, I know that we took pictures there. He was kind all the time and took care of me, I, the girl, didn't know what to do or how. I still have a memory of Mr. Dubček, he seemed terribly kind to me, a politician like that cannot be so terribly kind. That must be a sharper person. He really liked Hanka Mašková, he kept talking to her, they were still together."

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    Liberec, 08.05.2022

    duration: 02:05:19
    media recorded in project Tipsport for Legends
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The bronze legend was like Quasimodo after the crash. She threw away the fear immediately

Dana Beldová, married name Spálenská, at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics
Dana Beldová, married name Spálenská, at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics
photo: archive of the witness

Dana Spálenská was born as Beldová on February 10, 1950. Father Jaroslav Belda and mother Anastázie Beldová lived in Smržovka in Jablonec region. Jaroslav Belda was a well-known official of the luge sport and brought his daughter Dana to it. She had a sister who was five years older, who also competed in sledding, but she stopped after an injury. Dana Spálenská achieved her first big success while still a student at the secondary grammar school in Tanvald. In Berchtesgaden, West Germany, she won the title of Junior European Champion in 1968. In the same year, she went to the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, where she finished sixth. As one of the first female athletes - Olympians, she took femininity tests at the time, and successfully passed them. In 1969, she won second place at the European Junior Championship in Hammarstrand, Sweden. After secondary grammar school, she completed her education at the high school for rehabilitation nurses and started working at the hospital in Tanvald. The senior doctor MUDr. Leraus allowed her to go for training sessions and races without any problems. In 1970, she had a serious accident on the track in Mariánské Lázně, but quickly returned to racing. She did not travel to the Olympics in Sapporo in 1972, the Czechoslovak Olympic Committee did not send any male or female sledders sledders there due to lack of money. In November 1972, her daughter Lucie was born, in December she started training again. In 1975 she won a bronze medal at the World Championships in Hammarstrand, a year later she finished her representative career with 10th place at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. A post-Olympic discussion in a small village contributed to its conclusion. One convinced communist accused her of criticizing an orange representational clothing at some meeting, which was not true. After she stopped racing, she coached children. She continued to work at the hospital in Tanvald, after 1989 she started her own business as a physiotherapist. In 2022, she lived in Smržovka.