Home » MILENA DUCHKOVA, A 16 YEAR OLD ON THE OLYMPIC THRONE OF DIVING – SportHistoria

MILENA DUCHKOVA, A 16 YEAR OLD ON THE OLYMPIC THRONE OF DIVING – SportHistoria

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MILENA DUCHKOVA, A 16 YEAR OLD ON THE OLYMPIC THRONE OF DIVING – SportHistoria

article by Nicholas Pucci

At the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, the women’s 10-metre platform event entered the roll of honor for the first time and a precocity record. She to realize the exploit, in fact, she is not only the first Czechoslovakian diver in history, but also a little more than 16 year old girl, the youngest until that dayOctober 23, to gird himself with the crown of Olympia.

The star of today’s sports performance is Milena Duchkovawhich was born on April 25, 1952 in Prague, and which for the Mexican Games was also involved in the 3-metre springboard competition, finishing tenth in a test which awarded the American Sue Gossick ahead of the Soviet Tamara Fyedosova and her compatriot Keala O ‘Sullivan.

However, the Prague girl is much more competitive from the platform, a race in which she finds herself having to battle not only with the American Lesley Bush, holder of the title but unable to defend her chances, performing dives not even remotely related to her best performances that place her only 20th in qualifying and being excluded from the final at 12, or with the blue Bruna Rossiitself 22nd, but above all with the Soviet Natalya Kuznetsova and the other stars-and-stripes diver Ann Peterson, who with 53.80 points and 52.14 points respectively are first and second, overtaking Duchkova, third in the preliminaries with 51.61 points.

Ma in the three dives that establish hierarchies, the Czechoslovakian, supported by the Mexican public who blatantly side with her and her countryas a sign of solidarity against the invasion of Soviet tanks which entered the capital between 20 and 21 August to put an end to the “Prague Spring“, overtakes the two opponents, taking the lead of the classification right from the first dive, finally putting the gold medal around her neck, 109.59 points against 105.14 points of Kuznetsova and 101.11 points of Peterson.

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Four years later, Duchkova, who in the meantime won the European Championships in Barcelona in 1970 and the European Cup in London in 1971, defends her Olympic title in Munichbut if this time he confirms the tenth place from the trampoline, he must instead settle for the silver medal in the 10m platform.

The defending champion would seem have every intention of repeating the gold medal by finishing first round in the lead, 225.00 points against 218.31 points of the Swedish Ulrika Knape who is provisionally second. The American Micki King is only fifth, preceded in turn by the two East Germans Marina Janicke and Sylvia Fiedler, and everything will be decided, as is logical, with the second day of diving.

E here the challenge between the two great protagonists, precisely Duchkova and Knape, reaches very high levels, with the Czechoslovakian holding the lead until the sixth dive when the Swede, already the best in the third dive and extremely constant, overtakes the standings thanks to a opponent’s imperfection which marks a score of 31.74 points against 49.14.

Taking command of the race, Knape, who now has an advantage of more than ten points over Duchkova, temporarily overtaken also by Janicke, he doesn’t miss the last two divesscoring 56.16 and 67.23 points and denouncing the coldness and temperament of a champion, and finally with the total score of 390.00 points she climbs to the top step of the podium, leaving Duchkova at a safe distance, finally second with 370.92 points.

The result was repeated the following year, 1973, at the first world championships in Belgrade 1973, while in Montreal, in 1976, Duchkova ended her experience at the Games with a 22nd place in the 10m platform, remaining excluded from the final.

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Ma that gold from Mexico City and silver from Monaco were results that never again had the joy of applauding around Prague. As for the earliness record, we will have to wait a while to do better, exactly Barcelona 1992 when the not yet 14-year-old Fu Migxia will appear on the horizon. But here, really, we are talking about unparalleled phenomena.

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