Ondrej Nepela (22 January 1951 – 2 February 1989) was a Slovak Olympic gold medalist and three-time World champion figure skater, and later a professional ice skater and coach. Nepela competed in the late 1960s and early 1970s for Czechoslovakia.
Born in Bratislava (then in Czechoslovakia), Nepela began skating at age seven. He was coached by Hilda Múdra. His first major international competition, at age 13, was the 1964 Winter Olympics; he finished 22nd. He went on to win the European Figure Skating Championships five times between 1969 to 1973; the World Figure Skating Championships in 1971, 1972, and 1973; and the 1972 Winter Olympics. Nepela wanted to retire from competition after the 1972 season, but agreed to continue one more year because the 1973 World Figure Skating Championships were to be held in his home town of Bratislava.
In his second autobiography, Toller Cranston details a sexual tryst between himself and Nepela at the 1973 World Championships. Cranston was distracted and affected by their sexual affair and placed fifth while Nepela won the event and even earned a perfect 6.0 during his free skate.
Following his amateur skating career, Nepela toured for 13 years as a soloist with Holiday on Ice. He then established himself as a coach in Germany. He coached Claudia Leistner to her European title in 1989.
Nepela died of AIDS-related complications in 1989, at the age of 38. Since 1993, the Slovak Figure Skating Association has held a competition each fall called the Ondrej Nepela Memorial. In December 2000, the Slovak Republic named him Slovakian athlete of the 20th century. His former coach, Hilda Múdra, received the award on his behalf.
- ^ Cranston, Toller; Martha Lowder Kimball (2000). When Hell Freezes Over: Should I Bring My Skates?. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-2337-5.