Karol Divín

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Karol Divín
Karol Divin, Manfred Schnelldorfer en Alain Calmat (1964).jpg
Karol Divin (left), Manfred Schnelldorfer and Alain Calmat (1964)
Personal information
Full name Karol Emil Divín
Alternative names Finster
Country represented Czechoslovakia
Born (1936-02-22) 22 February 1936 (age 81)
Budapest, Hungary
Former coach Ivan Mauer
Anton Divín
Retired 1964

Karol "Karcsi" Emil Divín, born Finster, (born 22 February 1936) is a former competitive figure skater who represented Czechoslovakia. He is the 1960 Olympic silver medalist, a two-time European champion (1958–59), and a two-time World medalist (silver in 1962, bronze in 1964).

Early life[edit]

Divín was born 22 February 1936 in Budapest.[1] His mother, Irma, was Czech, his father, Anton Finster, a Hungarian of German descent, and one of his grandmothers a Slovak.[2][3] After World War II, the family adopted his grandmother's surname, Divín.[2] They moved to Bratislava in 1946.[3] In early childhood, Divín was interested in soccer and tennis.


Divín was introduced to figure skating by his father, who was also his first coach.[2]

At the 1954 European Championships in Bolzano, Italy, Divín stepped onto a major international podium for the first time, taking the bronze medal. He placed fifth at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Following three consecutive years as European bronze medalist, he won the silver medal at the 1957 European Championships in Vienna, Austria.

Divín won gold at the 1958 European Championships in Bratislava and defended his European title at the 1959 European Championships in Davos, Switzerland. Ivan Mauer became his coach in 1959.[3]

In preparation for the Olympics, Divín practiced a triple loop but tore a muscle and was forced to withdraw from the 1960 Europeans.[2] He was sent to the 1960 Winter Olympics after promising that he would finish the competition.[2] Placing second to American David Jenkins and ahead of Canada's Donald Jackson, he won the silver medal in Squaw Valley, California.

Divín won silver at the 1962 European Championships in Geneva, Switzerland, and at the 1962 World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He was the bronze medalist at the 1964 European Championships in Grenoble, France, and placed fourth at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.[4] He retired from competition after winning the bronze medal at the 1964 World Championships in Dortmund, Germany.

After ending his competitive career, Divín began coaching in Finland.[5] He was later based in North Bay, Ontario, Canada for many years. He coached Dough Leigh in the late 1960s and worked with Brian Orser on compulsory figures from 1983 to 1987. In the 2000s, he worked with Michal Březina in Brno.

Personal life[edit]

In the 1960s, Divín married Olga Reinišová, a Czech pair skater. They have a son, Peter, who lives in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada with his wife, Outi, and four children Benjamin, Stephanie, Martina and Jack. In 1984, Divín married his second wife, Mirka.[3] From this marriage, he has two stepdaughters, Renata and Jana. He alternates his residency between Surrey and Brno, Czech Republic.


Event 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964
Olympics 5th 2nd 4th
Worlds 5th 6th 6th 5th 2nd 4th 3rd
Europeans 3rd 3rd 3rd 2nd 1st 1st WD 2nd 3rd
Czechoslovak 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
WD = Withdrew