The pair were the first to perform lifts with several rotations, and also performed side-by-side double jumps. Maria was tall for a pair skater, at 5' 7½".
The Jelinek family fled to Canada from Czechoslovakia in 1948 at the beginning of the Cold War. While competing, the pair were warned not to return to Czechoslovakia for events, but chose to do so despite political and personal concerns. They won their World title in the original home city of Prague. The Jelineks retired from competition later in 1962, and toured professionally with Ice Capades.